One of the long-term impacts we are noticing from the Pandemic is there are more men and women than ever looking for long-term relationships.
So how do you find out if a guy you like is looking for the same thing?
Throughout dating literature and countless conversations amongst single women, it seems to be the general rule of thumb that men should be the initiators of every step of the dating process – from the first conversation to the first date to the “what are you looking for in a relationship” conversation and so on.
While it’s true that the dynamics between each coupling are different and should be treated as such, I fear that many eligible women are missing out by going radio silent.
In order to help you unpack some of the preconceived notions and deep-seated fears that are at the root of what feels like helplessness, and will result in missed opportunities and ineffective use of your precious time, here are four misconceptions that cause women to hold back — and how you can adjust to make sure you are dating a man with whom you share the same relationship goals, WHILE staying in your feminine.
- Initiating is seen as aggressive and desperate. (And too masculine!)
Whether it’s something our mothers advised us against growing up or the fact that women in movies who have the “what are we” conversation are always depicted as needy, overbearing, or aggressive, many of us have turned into shrinking violets for fear of coming across as too masculine.
Not only that, but we feel as if the act of blatantly asking to have our emotional needs met will appear desperate and send the wrong message. Or, that if we initiate the “what are you looking for,” conversation with a man, it will cause him to pull away or disappear completely.
In truth, there are ways to take action without foregoing your feminine energy. Rather than charging up to the man you are dating, and asking him “where do you see us in a year” right out of the gate, use your feminine wiles to approach the conversation with grace and dignity. Taking action doesn’t necessarily need to be done in an “aggressive” manner. Instead, tell him what you have enjoyed about your courtship first. Let him know how much you appreciate him and be specific.
Next, express your specific relationship goals to him, making sure not to downplay the details. (eg., if you want kids, tell him. If you don’t, tell him, etc). Last, directly ask him to share his relationship goals, vision, and timeline. Don’t interrupt. Listen. Ask follow-up questions. Remember, generally speaking, men mean what they say and say what they mean.
Initiating leads to a loss of power.
The fear that simply telling him what you desire will immediately give the guy the upper hand in the relationship and put your delicate feelings in his hands is a strong and often valid one. There are lots of guys out there who get some kind of power trip off having control in a relationship and abusing that power, and perhaps some of you developed this fear because of a particularly scarring experience.
But much like any other part of life — be it work, a favorite activity of yours, or moving to a new city — the greatest rewards often come with some initial risk. Before taking the leap, mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that you and he are not on the same page. And, remember if he chooses to express his disinterest in an insensitive manner or avoids the conversation, then he’s not someone you want to be with anyway. Simple as that.
There is nothing inherently wrong in wanting a relationship, and being curious if the person who you are investing time in is looking for the same thing so that you can make an informed dating decision. Ultimately, seeking mutual understanding in what each of you is looking for requires vulnerability and honesty, both of which are characteristics that require innate power and resilience.
Initiating makes you vulnerable.
On a similar note, many single women use their inactivity and avoidance as a time-sucking shield that can easily be misinterpreted as disinterest.Defense mechanisms run rampant in the dating world, and rare is the occasion they help move one’s love life in a positive direction.When you do not have clarity if you and he are on the same page, you are at risk of making up a narrative that is fraught with fear and will result in self-protection and guardedness. If he is on the same page, you may be at risk of sabotaging something that could be great.To a man, remember, this shield can be experienced as aloof or hard to read. Instead, un-armor yourself, choose to be courageous, curious, open and optimistic.Having the “what are you looking for at this point in your life” conversation will allow you to get the information you need in a way that is empowering so you get to choose whether or not to take the time to get further invested.And if he has the same relationship goals as you, he will find your confidence irresistible!
Initiating means he never liked you in the first place.I’ve heard way too many single women use the “if he were into me he would’ve made it clear already” excuse when explaining why they haven’t had the “what are you looking for” conversation. We apply a gender-focused double standard to equal salaries and power in the workplace, so what makes it different when it comes to dating?Is he consistently asking you out, staying connected? Asking you specific questions about your life? Remembering your answers later and referencing them in subsequent conversations?There are many signs you can look for that can easily point to a guy who’s just as interested and also just as fearful of telling you he is looking for a long-term committed relationship.Just remember that as you’re dating someone, whether you are getting mixed signals or one signal that is making his intentions unclear, men are just as prone to avoiding difficult conversations and as insecure as women, and sometimes all they need is a feminine push in the right direction to express to you what they want and how they are feeling.Either way, be proactive, make it clear that you are looking to build a committed romantic relationship. And if he’s not being direct, or his actions don’t match his words consistently, you will know it’s time to find someone who is!