In this progressive culture we are now living in, it seems as if the popular ritual of asking a girl out has completely disappeared. Couples nowadays seem to always go through that stage of “dealing” or “talking” first. But without that formal agreement, when and how do you know when exactly the relationship becomes exclusive?
This weird zone is essentially an emotional playing field- where no one wants to over-play their hand and be left on the short side.
Either side may try to heat up the budding romance with innuendos and flirtatious implications. However, self-conscious thoughts such as, “Was that too soon?” arise, or the most popular one, “Are they uninterested or are they just playing hard to get and is actually totally interested?” This is the stage where one wrong step can ruin everything.
“I am currently stuck in this stage. I am dying to just ask him he feels about me. I just want to get that straight up answer,” says Stephanie Atkinson, second year Guelph-Humber student. “But obviously I don’t want to scare him away.”
Karen Hirscheimer, a Toronto couples therapist says: “Both men and women should feel ready when they commit to exclusivity together. The focus should be on appreciating each other, finding each other, and the excitement of the journey ahead…”
Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, sexologist and relationship expert says that the stage of uncertainty and doubts is only a natural process. It does take time, but it is certainly possible.
O’Reilly advises that the answer to getting to that exclusive stage is to wait and simply let him know that you are the kind of girl she should commit to.
“From the very beginning, men are analyzing whether you have the long-term potential or if you are merely good enough for the time being,” she said. “Talking about your wants, needs and boundaries is the best way to ensure that you’re both on the same page.”
Men do no want to lose their freedom. Just the thought of words like ‘commitment’, ‘girlfriend’, and ‘relationship’ can scare away some men.
If you are seeking to further develop your relationship and getting him to commit (and to commit happily), O’Reilly offers the following tips:
1. Make sure he is “boyfriend material” first.
Before you even dwell on where your relationship exactly lies, decide if this guy is actually worth your time. “If he disrespects you, treats you like you are an afterthought, lies, and spends most of his time going to the bars and getting wasted, you should really think twice,” says O’Reilly.
2. Give him space.
Do not put pressure on a man. Remain fun, calm and collected. Don’t let the little things rattle you. “There is a type of woman that every guy is proud to bring around to his friends,” says O’Reilly. “And that’s a cool girl who doesn’t chase, who isn’t needy or clingy. And definitely someone who isn’t acting like his mother constantly checking up on him.” Give him plenty of space and freedom to do his thing- as hard as it sounds, this is what will draw him right to you. Be that girl. “Both men and women need to maintain their independence and have lives outside of a new (or old) relationship.”
3. Stay classy.
In this generation, the new trend seems to be that hooking up comes before dating. “Do not rush into having sex,” warns O’Reilly. It is extremely crucial to let him know from the very start that you won’t be a casual thing forever. “If you do have sex, be cautious that you do not slip into being a mere booty-call.”
4. Stay confident in yourself.
“Self-esteem is the foundation of all good relationships. Having a healthy relationship with yourself makes it easier to cultivate relationships with the other,” says O’Reilly. When you feel good about yourself, guys feel good being around you. “Don’t be negative, don’t act like you need constant approval from him,” says O’Reilly. “Be fun and sexy and secure about who you are. If he compliments you, say “thank you”- don’t disagree and tell him about the bad hair day you’re having.”
5.Do not bring up your relationship status- let him come to you.
In this in-between stage, a lot of curiosity may arise and you may question every one of his actions and words. “Whereas women typically want a boyfriend after three dates, men usually want a girlfriend after three to six months- so patience is definitely a virtue. If he’s the man you think he is, he will come to you. In his mind, you will be that desirable woman who has the choice and power to pick and choose what happens, and he will rise to the occasion.”
Sometimes what we don’t always realize is that every relationship follows a natural progression. As a relationship develops, we naturally move from one stage to another, and although some stages are more pleasant than others, they are all essential into moving forward to the ultimate fulfillment of every relation.
As seen in the Radix published on Mar. 20, 2013