Getting to Girlfriend Status : How to have the “Relationship Talk.”

Young coupleAfter months and months of filling your funnel, you think you’ve found a guy you really like. He’s smart and funny, sensitive and sweet, with just a dash of edge and spontaneity. You’ve been seeing each other for roughly three months and feel like you are both pretty into each other. Only thing is, you haven’t had “The Talk” yet. Does he consider you to be exclusive? Are you still dating other people? Can you start introducing him as your boyfriend? These questions can all be answered with one little conversation. But how do you bring it up? Before you cross the Rubicon and have this discussion, you must think this through. Once you have the talk, there is no going back. Say too much too soon and you could scare the guy off or tip your hand. But if you wait too long you could lose your sanity, or worse, waste your time on a guy that never had long term intentions. So what’s a girl to do?

The best way to have the relationship talk is to make the guy bring it up first. So how do you make him start yapping?

Negotiations 101.

Rule No. 1 : Whenever you are trying to get someone to do what you want, always negotiate from a position of strength. In this case, you want this guy to be your boyfriend, right? You want him to stop seeing other girls and make you his one and only. Great. What kind of bargaining power do you have that will make him want to do this? What will he get in return that he is not getting now?

When my friend Cara started seeing her boyfriend, Justin, she refused to spend the night at his house. They would hang out, watch movies, eat dinner, and fool around, but never did she put on her PJ’s and climb into bed with him. He hated that she always went home and eventually asked her what he needed to do to get her to stay. That’s when they started having the talk. Because her boyfriend wanted her to spend the night, Cara was able to negotiate from a position of strength.

Now, let’s say you’ve already blown that. You’ve not only been spending the night, but you’ve been having sex with the guy too. You are now in a position of weakness because you want the guy to give you girlfriend status, but you have nothing that he wants from you (because he’s already getting it!) Continue reading

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Where is this going? How to figure out your future by investigating his past.

meadowYou’ve been out with him several times. Seven dates to be exact. He texts a lot, but hardly calls. You see him on weekends but not both nights. He’s good about being consistent, but there have been a few times when he’s dropped off the earth. You like him, he seems to like you, but the relationship just doesn’t seem to want to take off. You feel like you are in a constant state of limbo. Your friends have their theories. He’s taking things slow. He’s just shy. You are expecting too much! But none of those hypotheses really resonate with you. How long can you really keep going this way? It’s starting to drive you mad. Should you get ready to hunker down for a nice long relationship, or renew your Match.com subscription? What’s it going to be!!

Ever felt this way? Most women do. It’s frustrating when you don’t know where you stand. Some guys are just tough to read. Their intentions aren’t clear, or you like them so much that you just can’t be objective. Or maybe he’s saying all the right things, but his action prove the contrary. In cases like this there is only one solution. I know I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The best indicator of the future is in the past. If you want to know where this is going, you need to find out where he’s been.

My friend Petra had been dating a guy for two months. She felt like she was on the cusp of getting a serious commitment. She was seeing the guy twice a week and felt like it was about time to bump it up to three times. Then another month passed without any change in frequency. She was stumped. Why didn’t he want to see her more? Why was he keeping her at bay? So she decided to dig into his past a bit for answers.

One night, while out at dinner, she inquired about his past relationships. In a very casual way she asked, “How many serious relationships have you been in?” To her shock, her date who was thirty-three years old said, “Only one.” Petra sat there stunned and then asked, “Well, how long did that last?” She thought, maybe he was with the same girl for ten years and in that case, I know he can commit. But she didn’t get that answer. The answer she got stunned her further. “About six months.” He said. Petra was more than confused. Nothing made sense. He was thirty-three years old and only had one relationship lasting six months? Needless to say, it was a bit abnormal. Knowing this about him was disheartening on one hand, but comforting on the other. Well, it’s not me, she thought. Obviously her guy had problems settling down which was his problem, not hers.

Of course her date made his argument. He’s just never met anyone that made him want to commit. But when she really dug into his past she realized quickly that time and time again he always put his career aspirations and hunger for power and money before anything else… including his own family.

“His mother died while he was on a ski trip with business associates. Instead of leaving immediately for the funeral, he stayed through the week as planned and just sent flowers. I thought that was super cold.”

If that doesn’t tell you what kind of man he is, I don’t know what will.

Sometimes we hear things that are fishy, like not attending the funeral of your own mother, and even though it strikes us as odd, we ignore it. We think to ourselves, well that doesn’t have anything to do with my relationship with this man. That is where most women go wrong. It has everything to do with your relationship. It tells you what kind of person he is. It tells you about his character. It tells you what you have to look forward to.

I remember dating a guy many years ago that I thought had some potential. He was cute, nice and pretty smart. Then one day I asked him about his past relationships and he told me that his ex girlfriend cheated on him over and over again throughout the two years they were dating. When I asked him why he didn’t end it he said he believed she would change. That raised a big red flag in my mind. This guy didn’t have the confidence to stand up to his cheating girlfriend? Was he that much of a doormat? Did he not respect himself enough to find someone that treated him with respect? After that night I began to see him in a different light. Today, I’m married to someone else! Someone who would never tolerate cheating – from others or from himself.

If you are dating someone, make sure you probe into their past. It will tell you a great deal about their future. Sure, some people grow up and reform themselves, but you have to ask the right questions to find out if that is the case. Don’t shrug off stories that make you question him. Don’t ignore the red flags. Don’t try to validate why he did something you would normally find unacceptable. This is the best way to find out who someone truly is. Instead of listening to your heart, listen to him. Continue reading

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Are you a good-for-now-girlfriend? How to tell if he’s thinking about a future with you.

skepticalI got an email yesterday from a woman in Texas that was wrestling with her relationship. She has been dating a guy for about six months and is becoming increasingly frustrated about where the relationship is going. Here is a exert from her email:

“I can’t figure him out. He tells me that he is not ready for a serious relationship. He tells me that he needs his space, but at the same time he calls me throughout the week and we often spend at least one night together on the weekends. I can’t tell if he is scared of getting hurt, or if he has commitment issues. What he says and what he does are so conflicting that it’s driving me mad. I don’t know what to do and talking to him about this only confuses me more.”

Question. How many women do you know that go on dates just for fun? How many women do you know that continue to see a man that they don’t really like? Probably not many. If you are like most women, chances are the moment a guy asks for your phone number you start wondering, could this guy be the one? We date with a purpose. Or at least most of us do. We date to find that partner for life, that husband to love us, that father for our children. Rarely do we date just to date. Guys on the other hand…

True, there are those men out there that are solely interested in long term commitment right off the bat. There are always exceptions to every rule, so please hear me when I caveat what I’m about to say. Most guys do not go out on a first date and think, could she be the one? More often than not they are thinking about what it would be like to kiss you. They wonder what you are all about and if your personalities will click. They are thinking about what comes next. They don’t daydream ten years down the line. They don’t fantasize about what your children will look like. At least not on a first date.

This is important to keep in mind because going one step further, most women think, “if he’s not interested in marrying me, he’d break it off with me,” and that is just not always the case. Men, as I outlined above, don’t always think the way we do. I’ve known men that have kept women around for years with no intention of marrying them. I’ve had guy friends tell me, “I like her, but she’s not the one.” I can name a hundred different scenarios where men will keep dating someone that they don’t see themselves committing to. I call these women the “good-for-now” girlfriends.

G-F-N girlfriends are just that – good for right now. Maybe the guy is traveling a lot and needs someone to hang out with when he comes back to town. He’s too busy to put too much thought into dating, so he sticks with who’s he’s comfortable with. It’s easy, he likes her, but will he marry her? No. Eventually when she pressures him enough, he’ll crack and break it off. Is this fair? He thinks so. After all, he did tell her upfront he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship.

It would be great if all men and women were honest with their feelings. We’d all probably find our happily ever after a lot faster that way. But the truth is we aren’t always truthful and forthcoming. The truth is we sometimes put our own feelings ahead of the other persons. I experienced this first hand with a relative of mine that was dating a woman he didn’t see a future with. He dated her for three years! Three years with no intention of marrying her or even fully committing to her. How could he do this? How could he waste her time? Very easily, I would say. He told her all along that he was commitment-phobic and unsure about marriage. He told her he liked her very much and wanted to spend time with her, but needed his space. In his eyes he was honest and upfront with her, even though he was seeing her twice a week and spending the holidays with her, he didn’t feel guilty because he told her what to expect.

Scary if you are a woman. Scary to think you could be in a relationship with someone at this very moment and not know what’s going on in your man’s head. Scary to think maybe you are a good-for-now-girlfriend. But just knowing that this is possible, should make you all the more wiser. Just knowing that a man can date you without real purpose, should give you the gumption to walk away if you’re feeling frustrated. You want and deserve to be more than a good-for-nower. You deserve forever.

If you are worried about where your relationship is going, Continue reading

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Am I in a relationship of convenience?

[caption id="attachment_1199" align="alignleft" width="300"]By Nuttakit By Nuttakit[/caption]

My husband and I were out to dinner with some friends the other night and one of them started talking about her relationship with her boyfriend. She had been frustrated over the last several weeks because of his inflexible attitude. We all listened and gave her the usual, polite excuses for his behavior (after all you can’t tell someone the harsh truth with seven other people sitting there.) But after dinner my husband shook his head and said to me, “I feel really bad for her. It’s obvious that he’s only with her out of convenience.”I thought it was interesting to have the male perspective on this. So I asked him. What’s the number one sign that a guy is only with a girl because it’s convenient? His answer? I’m going to paraphrase because it was late and I was full of spicy tuna rolls, but it went something like, “when a guy gets annoyed at the drop of a hat by anything his girlfriend says or does, that’s a big sign of a relationship of convenience.” So for example, you are running late from work and you call your boyfriend to ask him to take the chicken out of the fridge and pre-heat the oven for you, and he gets annoyed and tells you that he’s about to go to the gym and can’t be bothered. Or, you have told him that your cousin wants to have you two over one night, and when you bring it up for the third time he says something like, “I don’t know when I can do it! Why do you have to keep asking me every five minutes??”

If your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or partner has a very short fuse and you hesitate to ask them for anything, you may be in a relationship of convenience. If it’s not convenient for them to get off their butt and pre-heat the oven, or it’s not convenient for them to sacrifice a night at your cousins, how can you argue his intentions? My husband spoke from his own experience and said, “I’ve been there. When I’m mentally done with a relationship, but haven’t told the girl yet, it’s exactly the way I act. It’s not cool, but sometimes the guy doesn’t even realize the reason why he’s doing it. Often in these situations, the guy ends up pushing the girl to end the relationship. He’s such an inflexible jerk, she has no choice.” Continue reading

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