From Casually Dating to Totally Committed
Posted by Jenn Clark on July 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Aaaah, the age old question. How do we move things with that guy we've been dating to the place where he wants to be with us, and us exclusively? The short answer is...We don't. At least not as far as he's aware. The key is to let him know you are the kind of girl he should commit to. But not with your words; with your actions. From the very beginning, he is analyzing whether you have long-term potential or are merely good enough for the short-term. So laying the proper foundation in the early stages of dating is crucial to achieving the desired results.
Here's the deal: The number one thing men prize and the thing they are most afraid to lose is their freedom. Just the thought of words like "commitment," "girlfriend," and "relationship" will send most men into a full-fledged panic attack. He begins to envision his Sundays -- once filled with football, beers, and his boys -- now spent with you at Bed, Bath, and Beyond shopping for throw pillows. He believes every Friday night will consist of dinner and a chick flick. Not to mention all the other women he wonders if he will miss out on...It's a miracle any of us make it to girlfriend-land, isn't it? But it can be done. And not only can you get a guy to commit, but to commit happily all on his very own. Sound good? So if a relationship is what you are seeking, let's get started. Here are the five little "c's" to keep in mind as you date in order to get the big "C;" a commitment.
1. Pick "C"arefully
If you follow my blog, you're aware I encourage my ladies to be very careful when choosing to get involved with a particular man. As you know, he comes with an "as is" policy. You can't change him or make him into something he's not. So be on guard. Use your time of casually dating to observe who he is. Make sure he truly is "boyfriend material." Does he repeatedly go out to bars with his buddies and come home wasted at 3 am? Hmmmm. Does he have 2000+ Facebook friends, 90% of whom are women whose profile pics show them in lingerie? Double hmmmm. Have you caught him in a lie? Does he disrespect you in any way? Does he treat you like you are an afterthought rather than the special woman you are? If so -- run. You can't expect a frog to become a prince once he's your boyfriend. Sometimes a frog is just a frog and it's best to send him hopping.
2. Be "C"ool
Guys love cool girls. And really, what's not to love? Cool girls are fun. They know how to make the best of any situation. They don't let the little things rattle them. They can joke around and be playful. They're the type of woman a man is proud to bring around his friends. While a cool girl is still very much a girl, she also has the wit and strength to hang with the guys. And cool girls are way too smart to put pressure on a man. They don't chase. They aren't needy or clingy. They don't obsess about having a relationship (at least as far as he knows). They don't act like his mommy and make him check in after a night out with his friends. They give him plenty of space and freedom to do his thing, which draws him right to her. They are the girls men can't get enough of. Be that girl.
3. Be "C"lassy
You probably know how I feel about the whole sex thing. But if this is your first time reading my blog, I'll say it again: Don't rush into having sex. Forget the three date (or five date) rule. And I'm not buying that "this is how it works with Gen Y (or the Millennials); we hook up first and date later" crap. I don't care what decade you were born in; a guy is a guy whether he's 15 or 50. And a quality guy doesn't want to be seriously committed to a girl he thinks gives it up indiscriminately. And how does he determine if you do? By how quickly you sleep with him. This is a FACT, ladies. After you have sex, his mission has been accomplished and yours has just begun. So it is very important that you let him know FROM THE GET GO that you aren't a gal who'll be content in a part-time or casual thing forever. And you do this not with your words, but with your actions; specifically by not sleeping with him right away. Once you do have sex, it's critical that you don't slip into booty call (or as I like to say "beck and call girl") status. He doesn't get to come over late night just for some fun. He can't hit and run. If he takes you out on a proper date and you have a sleepover, OK. Anything less and you'll find yourself moving further away from becoming his girlfriend, not closer to it.
4. Act "C"onfident
Confidence, confidence, confidence. It's well known that the #1 thing that attracts a man to a woman is her confidence. How she carries herself, how she speaks, and how she dresses are all indicators of her level of confidence. Let's talk about clothes for a minute. You may indeed look smokin' hot in your razorback tank (sans bra), cut off jean shorts (that show the bottom half of your butt), and Ugg boots. And for sure you'll get guys to look, want to sleep with you, and maybe even take you out. But they most likely won't be thinking, "Wow. This is a girl I could bring home to meet mom." When you put yourself on display and dress and act in ways that scream for attention, you are not showing confidence. Rather, you are stating that you want and need approval. Translation? You're insecure. But be feminine. Play up your attributes. Be a little sexy. I'm all about that. But there's a line between sexy and skanky. Don't cross that line. Confidence is also apparent in what you say and how you say it. If you receive a compliment, say thank you. Don't disagree or tell him how you hate your thighs or are having a bad hair day. Don't bring up how every ex did you dirty. Don't complain or be negative. Positivity + a fun attitude = confidence. Confidence is born of being secure with who you are and believing in yourself. I can never stress enough the importance of having a full life; one that is filled with a good balance of work and play. Friendships, hobbies, and interests that make you feel good are wonderful confidence boosters. Here's the bottom line: When you feel good about yourself, guys feel good being around you.
5. Keep Your Mouth "C"losed
Men hate the dreaded "talk." You know what I'm talking about, right? It's the discussion where the girl brings up questions like "Where is this going?" "Do you see things becoming long-term with me?" "How do you feel about having a relationship/making things exclusive/being my boyfriend?" Do not do this. Ever. If you've followed my advice so far, you've conducted yourself in a way that lets him know that you're not the type of girl he could date casually for all eternity. You'll have differentiated yourself from the pack. You'll have held yourself out as a prize and he's going to want to keep that prize all for himself. I recently read that, if left to their own time-frame, most men will start to think commitment in three to six MONTHS. That's a long time for us ladies who usually want a boyfriend after three to six DATES. But patience is a virtue and delayed gratification is a sign of maturity. So stay calm and let him come to you. If he's the man you think he is, he will. I guarantee it.
I'm of the belief that you should never bring up the whole commitment talk. I believe he needs to get there on his own. Personally, I feel much more comfortable being with a man who I know for a fact wants to be with me (and me only), than a guy I had to subtly (or not so subtly) pressure into a relationship. It makes me feel good to know that HE wants to be there and didn't just acquiesce to my wishes to shut me up or to keep me happy. But that's how I operate. If you feel you must (and I mean MUST -- specifically because it's been six months and he's made no mention of it) bring up the subject of commitment yourself, I've got a few tips to help you out. Keep in mind; the more you talk about it, the more he will back off. So wait for the right time and do this ONCE:
- Never start out with the words "we need to talk" -- Duh! This will scare him away faster than you can say "wedding reception." It sets a bad tone and makes him feel like he's done something wrong. He's instantly put on the defensive and won't be receptive to what you have to say. Instead try this: "You're such a great guy! I've really been enjoying our time together." Warm fuzzies, right? And now you've made him feel good and open to what you have to say next.
- It's a statement, not a question - Now say something like, "I've been thinking it through..." This shows you are logical and rational and not acting like every other emotionally needy woman who wants a boyfriend just so she can be in a relationship. Now follow it up with "...and I'd be open to dating you and you only." I think this statement is brilliant, if I do say so myself. Look at what you've done -- you've (a) let him know you think you'd like to see him exclusively without putting direct pressure on him because, well, you aren't 100% certain, (b) it plants the seed in his brain that if HE doesn't snatch you up, some other guy will, and (c) you haven't mentioned any "scary" words like monogamy, commitment, or girlfriend. In fact, you've let him know that nothing will change. You're still the cool, classy girl he's been dating. The only difference? Going forward, you'd be dating only him. Now what? Now you shut your mouth and listen to what he says. Seriously. Shut it. Make sure he is the next to speak.
- Be prepared to walk if you don't get the response you want. Here are the only acceptable things he can say back: "I've been thinking the same," "I'd like that, too," or some variation of either. If he hesitates and changes the subject? If he says he's not ready/is unsure/wants to keep things "as is"/etc? If he seems reluctant? Drop it. You've gotten your answer. Keep dating him if you like, but be sure to make yourself less available. Get busy with your friends and accept dates from other guys. Don't act like he's your boyfriend if he doesn't want to be your boyfriend. If you don't like what you hear and you don't want to see him anymore, that's fine, too. In either scenario, maybe he will eventually come around and maybe he won't. Only time will tell. But whatever you do, don't try to talk him into it. Even if he agrees, you'll end up driving him away.
The choice is really up to you and how you decide to handle it. But I will say this: It's my experience that there's not much better than the guy you've fallen for ASKING YOU to be his and his alone. Play it right and guess what happens? He feels like the luckiest man in the world to have captured your heart. And indeed he is.
Jenn Clark is a relationship advice expert and author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About…).” You can find it on her Facebook page:www.facebook.com/jennx30somethingandsingle
Or on amazon.com at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Step--Becoming-About-ebook/dp/B006HBSWSS/r