Saturday, April 23, 2011

Due Diligence

Have you noticed that "In a Relationship" status' (statuses, stati?) are popping up all over f@cebook?
I am happy for them, but I do wonder how it happens.  I was only on f@cebook the last year that Mr. Burns and I were together, and I was only comfortable enough to switch my status to "It's Complicated" which was rather apt!

A friend of mine in another state just changed his status.  He also shared his joy with me that he is in love with someone new. When I asked him what made her special to him, he said it was her casual, laid-back personality. The clincher: "In four months (of dating) she never asked once about our 'relationship'... Not once.  She simply relaxed and had fun."

It occurred to me that that's not so unusual.  To me, the first four months is about getting to know one another, to see if you're compatible and whether you ought to be in a relationship.
I know I don't squeak and fuss about "where our relationship is going" early on... I've learned that in all my years of dating.  Nothing is a bigger turnoff to a man than a woman bugging him to jump into something for which he's not ready.

I can't imagine many women would be nagging in the first four months... but then, I don't date women.  I told my friend that knowing him, he was open and communicative so as a result she didn't have to ask questions because she knew (at the very least) that they were on equal footing.

The four month mark is a reasonable time to know whether you are coming or going in a relationship... so the fact that he knew enough to 'define the relationship' at that point speaks to his decency and maturity.
Those men who don't do such due diligence, are the ones who get all irritated and annoyed when women then start asking questions.

I think that's the red flag.  If after four months, a man hems and haws and avoids "defining the relationship" - he's either not into her, he's using her for sex, or he simply lacks the maturity (or readiness) to have a relationship.

Quite frankly, that's what happened with McTwitchy.  Depending on where you started counting (from our first stint at dating or from our second go 'round) we'd been dating for either four or six months when I started asking questions. Not about marriage, just about the seriousness of his intent.  Based on past experience, I wasn't going to waste months on someone who wasn't into it - because I didn't want to miss meeting the man who would love me without reservation.  
(I still think McTwitchy had special considerations, and it's still quite frustrating to know how much he liked me, and I liked him, but it just couldn't move forward. So sad.)

It is in a man's best interest to make sure the woman he is dating both feels special, and knows that she is special to him.    A smart, kind and thoughtful man will make sure a woman knows where she stands.  Four months into a relationship is fair game for both parties to want some clarity.

To men, my advice is this; if at four months (six months maximum) you don't feel like this woman is really special and that you really want to get to know her better, let her go.  Make sure that you broach the topic before she has to.

Actually, men would do well to know that... if you really want to be successful in relationships, do what needs to be done before she has to ask.  Define the Relationship, tell her you love her, do the break-up if you have to.   If you wonder why women are always asking questions and never seem satisfied with what you do... it's probably because you are not doing these things.  (Now, if you have no interest in making a woman feel special - that's fine. Either don't date, or don't be surprised that you're with a frustrated woman.)

It's so funny, I hear talk of men complaining of their girlfriends whining about wanting to get married.... and my thought is, "You should have asked before she had to bring it up!"
That's a pretty clear sign that you're not on the same page.  A woman will wait a good three to six months after she thinks she's sure he's the right one, before she mentions it to him.  So if she has to bring it up, he's slacking off.

For example, I waited for three months after I was ready to tell Mr. Burns that I loved him --- to hear it from him first. Three months!   I finally went off when we were spending the day with my friend and her husband and Mr Burns said, "I love this guy!"  It took him another YEAR for him to tell me that maybe he felt like he did love me!  Ugh.  How on earth did I waste that much time with him?!

1 comment:

Katie said...

I completely understand...

...and I wonder, "How do married people make it look so easy?"

Thank goodness Mr. Burns isn't burning anymore of your time.