When coaching friends about their relationships, there are three ManCard Chick guidelines I start with: 1. You’re more attractive when you’re just living your life and not obsessing about “where this relationship is going;” 2. If he likes you … really likes you … he will undeniably let you know; 3. You cannot force your will on him. And if you do happen to succeed at this, it will be fleeting and you’ll be more unsatisfied than ever.
I’ve come up with these suggestions after many chats with guy friends on what drives them nuts, and after hearing countless girlfriends carry on and on … and on … and on some more about the slow pace of their relationship.
So I was thrilled when a close friend relayed a story about how her guy brought up that the two of them were at a critical turning point in their relationship, and he even said the “m” word. Let me put it this way: He wanted to have “the talk” with her. Not the other way around. And how did this happen? After months of agonizing, she decided to stop freaking out about it, stopped scowling and fretting and start loving her life with him in it, while trying to put aside the “where is this going” question for a while.
“How much better is it that he came to this conclusion on his own?” I asked her. “You’re so right!” she gushed. “You’re a genius!”
Well. Yeah. Um. I’m blushing. And I’m truly glad he came through so I don’t have to beat him up. He’s a big guy, and I’m not sure I could take him.
While my buddy basked in the glow of this realization, I was questioning my real genius, being that I’d been backsliding into some pretty treacherous territory that nearly put my man card in jeopardy. I was not applying my own knowledge and instead let my girl brain take over and go past the point of rational thought. A serious ManCard Chick fail. But hey, I’m human, too, and at the end of the day: I’m still a girl.
You see, I had let a little positive attention, some direct messages, a few good convos (face-to-face and virtual) and a harmless crush escalate – all in my head, mind you – into a full-blown potential relationship. And once convinced of the possibility, I let my thoughts about this guy take over everything. “I’ve never seen you with these stars in your eyes,” my friend said. Gah. There’s a red flag for you.
But because I like a good strategy session in every aspect of my life, I began planning ploy after ploy to see if I could encourage him to make a real move. What if I post a cute/funny tweet? What if I “like” his picture? What if I don’t like his picture? What if I send him a picture of my ass? What if I write a funny bog about how spun out I am over him?
Wait. What if he were to somehow walk into this room right now and see how fucking torn up I’ve allowed myself to become? Let’s be honest: He’d turn right back around and walk out because this is not the cool chick he knows.
But this, on some level, is what we do, right? We try and try to make something happen and force him into action, fully expecting him to respond as we have envisioned. But then we get so frustrated because all our efforts go unrewarded.
Here’s my theory: We’ve come so far in every other aspect of our lives by making things happen ourselves that we assume we should be doing the same thing with our guys. But here’s the twist: When it comes to relationships, women are the ones meant to be pursued and convinced. Deep down, you know this is true. It’s the natural order of things. So why are we being so forceful … pushy … demanding? When it comes to your career, child rearing and negotiating your salary, be all those things. When it comes to your guy, those things are a major turnoff, and you could potentially lose it all.
Or worse: You’ll have hen-pecked him into complying and then you’ll spend the rest of your life with him continuing to nag him because guess what: He was never really in it to begin with. Sorry, but it’s true. For whatever reason, he just wasn’t ballsy enough to walk away. And is that the guy you really want? The victory will be short-lived. I promise.
So, now for me. I’ll tell you what: If my crush caves in because I send him a shot of my butt on the beach, well, in this particular case, with this particular guy, that’s not what I was really hoping for.
Funny enough, we’d had a convo about this same thing a few months ago when we were musing about other people’s relationships: “Why take a triangle and try to ram it into a square,” he asked me. “That’s why things blow up, and that’s why relationships don’t last.” Yep. That’s how guys think. If it’s not gonna work, don’t force it. And I’ll add: If he’s feeling it, let him do the work. It’s so much better to be pursued, and it’s so much better when he convinces himself of where your relationship should be headed.
So what if he says or does nothing? Here’s the hard truth: He’s not motivated by attraction/connection/lust enough to act. It doesn’t mean he’s lazy or incapable or in need of your insistent assistance to make a move. It simply means he doesn’t want to.
So where does that leave me? Saying this: “Well, he’s a nice guy, and that’s a good thing. I just don’t think he’s thinking of me that way. And that’s OK.”
Bummer, right? Maybe so in the short-term. But reminding myself of my own rules is pretty damn liberating. Maybe he’ll come through one day, and that will be unexpected and totally rad. But for now, I’ve got some living of my own to do.