The early stages of a relationship are fragile. In fact, ‘dating probation’ doesn’t really end till month 6. Up until month 6, both parties are still deciding whether their relationship can go the distance. Recently I worked with a client who never made it past month 3. She had no idea what she was doing wrong.
Here’s what would happen:
- She’d meet a great guy
He’d be hot in pursuit at the beginning, promise her the world, make plans waaay into the future
Seeing how keen the guy was, Mel* would drop everything in her life to invest in the relationship 110%
As soon as she did this, the guy would pull back
As soon as a guy expressed his interest and level of commitment, Mel stopped all her extracurricular activities. She opted out of her social events and wanted to devote all of her time to her new relationship. Her relationship became her world. What she didn’t realize was that she was becoming a different person, not the same one her man fell for.
In working with so many men, the one thing that makes them fall in love with a woman is the life she’s got going. It’s sexy. It shows independence. But what’s more is that when a woman has her own thing, it gives them the space to be who they are.
And THAT is one thing men crave – the freedom to be who they are.
Commitment is an easy choice for them to make when the scenario looks like this:
- They don’t feel like they need to fill a void for a woman
Despite what Hollywood thinks, the phrase ‘You complete me’ is only good for movie relationships. Healthy relationships are a product of two whole people. Two people who are independently happy but enriched when they are together. Asking someone to fill your void is not only a huge responsibility on their part but it also implies that you can’t fill the void yourself. It shifts all the responsibilty away from you. It may sound like a grand romantic gesture but in you expecting another person to fill your void, you’re no longer empowered to control your own happiness.
- They don’t feel like they’re responsible for someone else’s whole happiness (too much pressure)
Men loooove spoiling their women but it’s because they want to, not because they feel obligated to. When I first starting working with Mel, she’d tell me that she’d lose a little bit of herself everytime she got into a relationship. Because she wanted to settle down and have babies, she poured all of her time into finding her future husband. In doing so, she lost touch with her friends and family. She stopped the extra curricular activities she once loved. Since all the things that made her happy were no longer in the picture, she turned to her partner to fill the void. Soon enough, the guy would feel suffocated and pressured by her neediness. Once we helped her understand pacing in relationships, she learned how to create a life that would involve dating and the activities that make her – her.
- They feel like they can freely be who they are
At the core, everyone wants to be loved and accepted for who they are, not for their potential. There are women who date a man who doesn’t fit their criteria 100% but are convinced they can change a guy. And this is what it feels like from a guy’s point of view:
Things were so good at the beginning. But then she wanted me to find a new job. All of a sudden my clothes weren’t right, I needed to change my dress sense. The critcism piled on. It was like I wasn’t good enough. Nick
Thinking about whether or not a guy can and will change for you is like investing in the stock market. You can choose a really good stock but how it performs will depending on context and various factors. There never is a guarantee. Date someone who is right for you just as they are, not for the person they can or can’t become in the future. That’s exactly what we did with Mel. And it changed the type of men she attracted.
To no surprise, she’s now met a great man and they’ve just hit the 6-month milestone with no hiccups.
This is the stuff we cover in Goodbye Casual Dating.
Dating doesn’t have to be hard. Fast-track your way to a loving, healthy relationship.
If you liked this article, you’ll love this one on relationship limbo.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.