The biggest problem in today’s sociosexual environment, from the perspective of women, is that many men are reluctant to commit to a relationship. Once you weed out the Fake Boyfriends, Dead End Boyfriends, and Boyfriends You Got on a Technicality, there are few observable, mutually satisfying relationships among 18-25 year-olds. Individual women can’t control the adverse cultural conditions that favor no-strings sex for males in their 20s. But a woman who seeks a meaningful relationship should have a strategy for managing new relationships, leading up to the inevitable “Talk.”
Your success in snagging the guy of your dreams will depend on many factors, including your taste in men, timing, geography, his view of relationships, and most importantly, how he feels about you. It’s crucial that you discover all relevant facts before you go getting carried away with your fantasies.
The 5 Step Plan for Securing a Relationship Commitment:
1. Conduct a realistic assessment.
It is what it is. It is not what your friends say it is. What does his behavior tell you? How does he treat you? What has he specifically said about his feelings for you? You need to take a brutally honest look at all of the feedback you’ve gotten directly from the source. Reliable or unreliable? Big effort, little effort, or no effort? Dinnertime or closing time? Secret or public? FWB or date functions? This is no time to be saying, “I think this could be something special.” Or “He has so much potential if only he would try.”
If he has said straight out that he isn’t looking for a relationship, stop reading, you’re done. Never think you know a man’s mind better than he does. If he’s all about having fun and isn’t curious about what’s going on in your head, he’s just out for a good time. If, on the other hand, you have been spending quality time together and you feel pretty sure that he likes you, proceed to Step 2.
2. Be the best that he can do.
Men are skittish about committing if they think they can do better. Your job is to convince him via your actions that you are worth taking off the market NOW. To that end, you need to be:
your most physically attractive self
fun to spend time with
easy to get along with
independent, not symbiotic
highly sexually motivated and adventurous, with the promise to rock his world once you feel secure
Re the last point, Athol Kay recently wrote a post about the difference between falling in love vs. pair bonding in men:
In love = Dopamine based excitement / OCD like mental obession on person of desire. The addition of Game understanding is that Alpha Traits complement this process.
Pair Bond = Oxytocin / Vasopressin based emotional bonding and closeness. The addition of Game understanding is that Beta Traits complement this process.
He concluded by saying:
Be advised to show cleavage and leave no question in his mind that you’re good in the sack. At the heart of things, this is what men want from marriage and how they experience love and pair bond to you. The rest is just details.
After you’ve consistently delivered the message that you are high value, it’s time to move on to Step 3.
3. Demonstrate relationship skills.
I left a comment on Athol’s post asking how women can offer enough value to get men to commit. (This is one of my favorite questions for men.) Another reader left a comment that Athol liked so much he made it a separate post. Slwerner says:
In addition to lots of great passionate sex, the thing that pops out to me is the loyalty and the way she has learned to “telegraph” her continued loyalty to me. I don’t think men always realize how much they actually value loyalty until it’s lost; but, given that women’s infidelity can lead to her bearing another man’s child, I believe that female loyalty has been highly prized by men since well before recorded history began.
He specifies that when other men are around and paying attention, his wife touches him, demonstrating her preference for him over everyone else. This makes all the difference. Athol responds:
I think the loyalty observation is key here. Men want a highly sexual woman as a partner, but we also want a loyal one. I think we often get stuck with a viewpoint that either a woman is low sex and loyal, or high sex and disloyal.
Loyalty is the big one. Find ways to signal that you are really into this guy. Make him feel like the biggest man in the room.
Other important relationship skills that you should be consistently displaying are:
gratitude, showing appreciation for kind and generous treatment by him
kindness, consideration of his feelings
generosity, a desire to please him
compromise, a willingness to negotiate problems as they arise, and a refusal to hold a grudge
If you’ve been consistently displaying all of the qualities in Steps 3 and 4, he should be responding with considerable interest. If, at this point, you are wondering whether he likes you, abort the mission. If, on the other hand, you feel sure that he likes you but is passively enjoying the lack of relationship definition, proceed to Step 4.
4. State your interest in a relationship clearly.
You need to ask for what you want. You need to state succinctly what you will and will not do going forward. Eric Charles at A New Mode says that guys will rarely change the status quo without inspiration:
If a guy won’t call you his girlfriend after a month (two months tops), then I would say it means that he’s enjoying the relationship exactly where it is and at this moment will not take it any further unless he is inspired to. To a guy, calling a girl is girlfriend is typically a huge pain in the ass and if the girl is making herself so available and so committed when he hasn’t committed to anything, why would he call her his girlfriend?
Understand that this is a cost to him, and a benefit to you. The following behaviors are absolutely prohibited during this conversation:
refusing to speak
throwing a tantrum
In short, anything that conveys confusion, desperation or petulance is a dealbreaker. You’re just conveying that you’re going to be an especially high maintenance pain in the ass as a girlfriend. Keep it short and sweet. Speak from a place of personal strength. Listen carefully to his response. Proceed to Step 5.
5. Be gracious in victory and defeat.
Regardless of whether you got what you wanted, you need to demonstrate grace. If he agrees to a relationship right off the bat, congratulations, this is now you:
If he is ambivalent, or needs more time, you can reiterate your interest, but remind him that while he is deciding what he wants, you are a free agent. If he is not available for a relationship, you will remain on the market so that you are free to meet someone else who is. It is critically important that you communicate this without resentment or a desire for vengeance. The last thing you want to be saying is “I’ll show you!” But the thing you really need to do is show him. Show him how his life looks different when you pull back on the attention and companionship he has been enjoying. It’s probably a good idea to cool down the hooking up as well. Stay friendly, available, and accessible. To him and other men too.
If he says, “NO RELATIONSHIP,” you are going to pick up your toys and go home. You are going to stay cool and thank him for a fun playdate. You are going to say “no hard feelings” and you are going to mean it. You are going to hold your head high. No shame, no embarrassment, no weakness, no weeping, no anger. No insults or name calling. You are going to calmly exit the situation and proceed to your bed, where you will crawl under the covers and weep. But that is just for you and your loved ones to witness. He is not a loved one. He does not get to witness your pain.
Though I would not intentionally give any woman false hope, it’s also true that:
You will be surprised.
Long-time readers of my blog know that I was in this third category with my husband. You own your feelings, the fact that they are not reciprocated, and you move on. You deserve someone who wants that with you. You owe it to yourself not to waste time on a dead-end street. You must not make drama, or give him any reason to sheepishly tell his friends the story, saying “Awkward….” Maintain your self-respect and dignity. Never give that away to anyone.
Keep looking. Wait. Reconsider your taste in men, if appropriate. Reflect. Learn. Try again. Hold out for a man with character.
This is the human mating process. It’s never easy, even when you get what you want. It will, however, go a lot better for you if you behave strategically, rather than blundering through drama and tears and heartache.
Decide what you want. Now go get it. Begin at Step 1. Repeat as necessary.