Ask a Guy: The More Distant I Act, The More Interested He Becomes post image

Ask a Guy: The More Distant I Act, The More Interested He Becomes


The more distant I act, the more he’s interested!  I want to be more “coupley” with him, but the more I do that the more he backs off, and the more I back off the more he comes to me.

How do I gradually get closer and more “coupley” without scaring him off?

First, you might like this article:  http://www.anewmode.com/dating-relationships/the-less-i-care-the-more-he-seems-to/

The issues here are space and validation.

I’ve had relationships that I have tried hard to keep in “stasis”.  What I mean is that I like them right where they are… I know she’s not interested in hooking up with other guys, we see each other regularly enough (one a week or so) and when we’re together it’s nice, but there’s no feeling of exclusivity or dependency.

Problem is, try as I might, it doesn’t last.  The girl starts becoming attached to me, missing me and wanting to become more “official”.  I’m not looking for that and when that starts coming up, I scale my presence in her life back considerably – I don’t want things to turn into a relationship and therefore I withdraw.

Then, inevitably, the girl starts to get upset, frustrated, confused, etc. and she starts backing away.

At that point, I start thinking I’ve gone too far.  I’ve pushed her away and now I’m going to lose her.  I start putting in more effort… my goal being that I’d like to return to “stasis” – that perfect sweet spot of comfortable company and sexual satisfaction without having to tie myself down to any relationship.

My point here:  My goal is to maintain the stage before exclusivity and relationship happens.  I, right now, am not looking for a relationship.  I’m clear on this and it’s practical for where I am in my life right now.  While a girl could get me to put in more effort by withdrawing a bit, I am ultimately not looking for a relationship and my effort is only going to go so far.

I have fallen into relationships before.  I’ve been successfully manipulated into relationships too.  In the end, they’ve failed because I knew in my mind, heart and gut that it wasn’t what I wanted and as much as I tried to numb myself into wanting the relationship, I couldn’t kid myself.

My point in all of this is that if you withdraw, you will most likely get him to put in more effort, but that will only take you so far.  Ultimately, if you want a relationship to be as you want it to be, you need to be true to what you really want.

You need to have a clear idea of what you consider a relationship to be.  Attempting to mold a man/relationship into being the relationship you want is a losing battle – progress is an illusion if you want something that he ultimately does not.

Bottom line:  Get clear on what you want.  Give him space to step up and be that man without manipulating, prodding, hinting, guilting or nagging him to be that man.  He will either step into that role or he won’t. No good relationship was ever built on the grounds of manipulation.

How long are you willing to wait before you cut bait and move on?  1 month?  3 months?  6 months?

Some guys need time and there’s nothing wrong with giving a guy time.  But ultimately you won’t get the relationship you want unless you’re willing to pull the plug on a relationship that isn’t what you want.

Good luck,

Hope it helps,

eric charles

{ 124 comments… add one }

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Your mention of manipulative behaviour is what bothered me. It is true that women can be manipulative, but sending you’d know would come off as mixed singles to a degree to keep here around but not get close to her, even though you know she is confused and disturbed by the situation, and withholding the truth from her by not offering it yourself when she lacks the confidence or whatever it is to ask for it is being manipulative. In this case you are projecting blame onto her. You forget that although society is gradually changing, many women have actually learned that they should not directly ask the man what is going on in case he is not ready to reveal this yet and she inadvertently “pushes” him. This of course makes things easy for a man who does not wish to reveal the truth of his intentions, or lack of them, and lose the woman, but withholding of truth is always a form of subterfuge and manipulation. If the woman herself is backing away at times to see if you will pursue her or to “give you space”, this has also been heavily ingrained into her by society and she might be afraid to do anything else. In that case, since you no doubt sense this, it is up to you to be direct and clear with her, even though, poor you, you will most probably lose her “favours”.

Reply March 1, 2014, 9:34 pm

Carrie

I’m in the same situation right now. Met a guy on a dating site and we’ve been going out for 2months already. I’m only happy when we’re together but when we’re apart its like as if we didn’t know each other, he changed a lot we used to text almost 24/7 when we first met. But he changed a lot now we’re only texting once or twice a day, but its ok I understand.. I am just confused if he really likes me.

Reply February 23, 2014, 12:04 pm

zzzzzzzzzz

I have a ex who was way older when we were together. He has multiple childrent with all different mothers the ultimate player. He is no longer as desireable now and well rounded and beautiful women arent easily available because of his age. I must add he lied to me and others about his age to continue to date women in their teens and early twenties when he was late fourties. Ok well now he hasnt had sex in over a year because he is finally ready for love commitment realness. SMH it may be too late.

Reply August 23, 2013, 3:46 pm

Danielle

I note that you mentioned that “stasis” means that you “know she’s not interested in hooking up with other guys”. Is that the same for you? Are you also not interested in hooking up with other girls while in this limbo non-relationship? As I note that you say you wish to “maintain the stage before exclusivity”. It sounds like you want to keep her on the hook, but be free to play the field at the same time. Is that what you mean?

Reply August 8, 2013, 6:04 am

rhonda borreani

Yes, thats what means.

Reply September 6, 2014, 1:25 pm

Madelyn

As I read in your email, that the word “should” is being used too often, and is usually a word of blame. Then I thought of the last time someone used the word should on me, and I remembered, a boy at my school liked me, and we were friends, we’d hang out, play cards, random stuff. But then he told me he liked me, which wasn’t that awkward (in my opinion) and he asked if I liked him too. I said I didn’t. He kept asking, almost everyday, sometimes multiple times a day. Then he asked “Will you ever like me?” And I told him honestly, I didn’t know. I told him “My feelings could change, but I don’t like you right now, but I really just don’t know.” Then he told me something that ruined any chance of me liking him, and our friendship, he said to me “You should know.” I know that doesn’t seem that bad, but that just made me so mad, I went off on him telling him “No! I shouldn’t know, I don’t know! I don’t right now, and at the moment I don’t want to!!” But he basically ruined everything by telling me that I should know my feelings in the future. And me telling at him about it didnt help our friendship any, but at the moment, I was just so mad that I just said what I was thinking

Reply July 19, 2013, 2:26 pm

Shannon

Thank you so much for this article. It articulates exactly the phenomenon I’ve encountered and struggled with my whole life. A man knows exactly how much you’re worth to him before he ever even walks over to talk to you, and he’s only willing to put in exactly that amount of effort (whatever he perceives that to be) to keep you in his life. If you value yourself more than he does then nothing you do or say will change his mind, and it’s best simply to move on as soon as possible.

Reply April 26, 2013, 2:42 pm

jodie

been texting a guy for 6 weeks he in no hurry to meet up and friends of mine were assumin he may have a gf so i asked him and his reason was dont be daft just have more important things to sort out in my life am i being brushed off ?

Reply March 12, 2013, 4:48 pm

Lillian

I find this page so interesting, I m really interested in gender research. Having read a lot of this posts, it just seems like our society pushes women into the idea that all they have to do in life is having a relationship and men on the other hand just prioritize living casual, looking young for about 50 years and maybe having some women and maybe children at the side but they do not waste a grey hair on them,cause that s women s duty. If women werent pushed into this female related idea that relationships, family, kids , motherhood and what not was their ultimate responsibility in life, this website would give desperate men some advice. Dont waste your time with figuring out how to find a great man. Figure out how to educate yourself, find a good job ( more women in leading positions), go out with girlfriends, have poker weekends and spa time and find happiness in yourself and the life you were given. We re past times that marriage and family is the one social construct, look at divorce rate now that cheating is not socially acceptable anymore.. Get out there and live life.. like men. And do not waste your energy, youth and spirit trying to please a society created idea of what it means to be a woman.. teach your daughters and grand daughters too!

Reply January 27, 2013, 11:55 am

Lady_Luck

Bravo Lillian! What you wrote there is probably the most refreshing advice I’ve ever read regarding womankind. Absolutely spot on. Your advice lis like pure gold. If more woman subscribed to your suggestions, there would be so much less unnecessary focus on these “men hangups” that women crazily channel all their energy into. Keep up the good work.

Reply January 27, 2013, 2:52 pm

Lillian

thank you so much, i appreciate that you hear me. I feel like it is time for a change… not in 10 or 20 years but right now.

Reply January 27, 2013, 3:34 pm

Sim

I never really thought of it like this. I’d be more interested in reading more about this type of thinking than 12 ways on how to please your man.

This has really given me something to think about. Thanks Lillian, you’re an inspiration.

Reply May 29, 2013, 9:32 pm

uigs

Whereas I agree with a woman not needing a relationship and seeking one for that purpose and I also agree with women living a full rich life and spending less time thinking about what men want and what men think of them, I disagree with the overall theme of your post. I think it’s not society but an natural thing within most to seek out relationships and love, and I think there is no way to learn and grow within oneself than you can in a romantic relationship. Relationships are growth opportunities and ways for people to see the truth of their issues and to face them. I also think there is great beauty in a love cultivated over time that stands up to life’s challenges. Relationships are hard and they often don’t work out even with people’s best intentions but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth it. Also, most women I know have great jobs, house, car, spa time but they still would like a relationship and it seems so by choice not by society pushing it onto them.

Reply July 16, 2013, 12:49 pm

chippo

will u plz giv me ur email ID.. i want to talk to u in private.. i realy needur help

Reply January 24, 2013, 11:31 pm

Katarina Phang

I have aquetsion for you, Eric. Do guys negate entirely the idea of wining and dining a woman when they agree that the relationship will be just casual and a “hook-up” in nature? Most women, even when they realize/know this is just relationship of the moment would love more than just a strick booty call. Would guys be scared that this might be misinterpreted as courting her?

Reply October 6, 2012, 1:27 am

uigs

I would love to know the answer to this as well! I have never agreed to a casual, or hook up relationship/situation. However, there were times that due to attraction I was contemplating it but I found the guy did a lot of things to avoid anything that might be interpreted as courting. When I sensed this I did not proceed, the absence of any dating/fling was not something that was appealing to me. The thought that it would be fun dating and not end up serious was an idea I could entertain, courtship being entirely absent was not.

Reply July 16, 2013, 12:54 pm

Lu

I have a relationship with no strings and we see each other maybe twice a week and we have intimate conversations, and we go out on “dates”, we are even planning a weekend getaway. but I understand his need not to have a relationship right now. I would give him more, but i don’t because of our agreement no matter what. i stick to the plan..Every man is different but with my experiences, the guys really like me…so i also made it clear to him, don’t wait to late to express that either. while i’m bedding you, i’m still dating and looking for that potential relationship. one guy waited to late. I, however, only sleep with him…which is very tricky….because feelings can develop very quickly….Anyway it is possible to have a little more than the booty call but it all depends on the guy and his interest in you. sometimes a guy really likes you but a relationship isn’t feasible at the time because of things going on in his life

Reply May 29, 2014, 11:38 am

michelle

I’m glad he is honest however he says don’t manipulate…? Isn’t “pulling away and thethedoing all he can cause he may have lost her” to retain “stasis” maniputalting? Its stops the girl from moving on to a guy that is ready to be in a relationship. Keeping her there for whatever that is IS wrong. Men shouls be honest in saying what they want. In this case he want her there when he is bored. He wants to see her uncomfortable and confused.

Reply September 21, 2012, 12:23 pm

Simone

Exactly. Couldn’t agree more. It’s very useful information to have though. Next time I see a guy act like that it will be easier to cut him loose.

Reply October 7, 2012, 7:11 pm

Lara

Wow, interesting discussions on this post. Thanx again Eric, as i got a lot out of this. I might come back and comment on topic when i have thought about it a little :)

Reply July 15, 2012, 10:09 am

hottiestalker16

I like this guy he seems to like me back. He flirts and stuff but it is unclear if he has a girlfriend or not and he is sending me mixed messages. I really dont know what to do i dont really want to ask him if he is single because it would crush me if he was. He is the first i have liked that has ever liked me back.

Reply April 12, 2012, 10:16 am

Amy

Here’s food for thought. What happens when both people in said “not really a relationship, relationship” are like this? I ask because I’m reading this and nodding along and saying “That’s so me! This is exactly what I’m like at the moment with the guy I’m sort of seeing”.

The only thing is that we’ve talked about what’s happening and he has used the words “for now”, “not just at the moment” and “It’s a start” and I’m beginning to wonder if he thinks things might progress beyond this stasis. I’m just going with it as he knows I’m not wanting a relationship right now and vice versa. I actually like the stasis, but I’m not closed off to progression if that’s what is going to happen.

Reply January 31, 2012, 7:49 pm

Sim

Women who say I dont want a relationship right now are really in denial particularly about their self worth. Yes it takes one to know one. I was there in my younger years too but I was lucky to smarten up much sooner than most.

Let me tell you something dear Amy. YOU ARE IN A RELATIONSHIP. It’s just one where you dont get treated like you deserve. You are just in a giving relationship than a mutual one. So what you are really saying is you dont want to be treated with respect “FOR NOW” and maybe later when you are worthy of a males positive response, then you will want a relationship.

Be honest with yourself. You want a relationship of mutual love and respect. No woman wants to be a booty call except perhaps a married woman who has to stay in the relationship for her kids /financial reasons but needs sex and for some reason can’t have it with her husband/father of her children. Even then she should just pick up and leave.

You want a relationship where you are courted. You deserve it as does every girl who reads this. Demand it by your actions. Don’t you think the universe will send you a great guy. Is your ability to attract a human male that bad that you will resort to be treated like a sex object. You are better than that. It’s time for some affirmations in the mirror. Look at yourself and say I am worthy. You’re mind will tell you otherwise, just insist of finding reasons why you are worthy of positive male attention and find evidence in your life why you are worthy.

Reply May 29, 2013, 9:39 pm

T

Sim, it was this post that made me realize that I was only pretending that I was cool with the casualness of this imaginary relationship. That I’ve always been. I was under the delusion that spending time with him under whatever conditions it might be, however often fleeting, might evolve into something more. But yours and most of the sentiments here ring true. I had to step back and look at myself to realize I was miserable. My mood was completely based on how he treated me and I was mistaking his aloofness and indifference for being laid back. I knew going into it what it was , but I wasn’t honest with myself and incapable of not getting emotionally attached. It was this post Sim, your words that resonated with me and opened my eyes to the fact that I deserve more than this and I respect myself enough to walk away.

Reply January 28, 2014, 11:47 am

laverne

I have to disagree, sim. that don’t apply to me..because i always have several suitors to choose from. Even with my relationships such as these, the guys fall faster than me. I don’t chase and appear needy. Most of these guys says this because they are testing to see if you worth committing to. i know that sounds a little harsh, but it’s true. It’s a test of patience. Guys don’t like to feel pressured and I understand.

Reply May 29, 2014, 11:45 am

over-analyzing blues

In need of a logical perspective. A little history about me: always been long-term relationship girl, broken hearts and had mine broken, tough shell on the outside, sweet and giving on the inside. Currently dating a man less than a month. Told me he’s looking for a best friend, had 1 long-term relationship where he wanted to get married but she didn’t, still wants a family, shows me pictures of his family, is assertive, makes me laugh and I am attracted to him. We have great physical chemistry but I’m not ready to take it there for many past and present reasons such as 1st time going to his place, want exclusivity and to get to know him better. “getting to know him better” to me means knowing he’s into me, not just my assets. I have no problem showing affection early on in forms of touching, cuddling and kissing as long as I’m interested. He hasn’t said he likes ME but he said likes kissing me, although I thought his actions and words were showing he likes me, now I’m not so sure. I declined sex while we were kissing only, clothes on……by saying I like you, but I wanna get to know you better. He responded in a joking kinda way repeating what I said. I was hot for him too, but realize that I would have regret sex with him at this time so I chose my dignity. The drive home was quiet, small peck on the lips and good luck tommorow….I texted him twice accross two days, flirty msgs and he responded instantly but without the “edge” he had before that night at his place. His comments sounded dry although with explanation, no flirting….What is this type of distance related to? that night or something about himself? Can I ask without being clingy, needy etc, . My plan is to be silent in every way until he msgs me and shows interest, although my emotions say differently. I can’t believe that I actually have these emotions so early. I even made a point of letting him know I’d like to go dancing with him during the car ride so he knows that I am still willing to “go there” just not right now, plus I love dancing. I am confused and obviously really like him. Feel free to coment.

Reply January 24, 2012, 2:38 am

Out of Curiosity

I know I’m resurrecting the comments in this page but I can’t help but wonder…

You stated that if a girl can’t read a guy then she probably shouldn’t get into a sexual relationship with him, but in all honesty if we could read men… you would be out of a job. Your board would be dead. So it’s safe to say women don’t know how to read men (well the women who come on here anyways).

I’ve been talking to a man for 6 weeks and dating for 5 weeks. I haven’t had sex with him and I’m not rushing into that because I know how I operate. I’ve only been with 2 guys sexually because I have to invest my hear to lay down with a man. NOT that I’m saying if a girl is sleeping with other men right off the bat they are wrong. Different strokes for different folks.

My question is if I stated to the man (if and when we decide to become intimate) before we start the act to say hey I know I’ll fall and I will want something more than just FWB scenerio. So before we go there you need to know that and be at the same place I am. If not we can continue with being friends and seeing each other casually.

Is that wrong? I can’t be wrong? I saw before you stated if a woman waits for that magical moment to happen then we are pretty much kidding ourselves. I’m not envisioning rose petals to pour out from the ceiling while we are intimate or anything like that, but I think waiting to have sex (for me) is beneficial and does make the act more…well intimate. You know about each other more and value the person more rather than what’s between their legs. As a man…what are your thoughts?

I think what some women find offensive or an act of deceiving, is when the woman pulls away and starts to move on (because the relationship isn’t fulfilling her needs) you stepped up and acting more interested to keep her at bay so you don’t lose her. But you can’t lose what you never wanted. She obviously was over the situation so honestly in my opinion you should of left her alone. Because in the end you stepping up to her again will make her confused and will allow her to think your genuinely interested in her and not her vagina (sorry to be blunt, but I don’t sugar coat as well). I’m not saying that is your intention, but as a female that is how we will read this type of behavior. I’m not saying your a bad guy and should be flogged in the gallows for your behavior. Again that is your life and the woman you were with life. Just letting you know more on an analytical way than emotional way.

Reply December 1, 2011, 10:42 pm

p-funk

Do you have any posts that cater to women who are in relationships on this topic. I see all these columns about girls who are trying to get the guy to commit to a relationship. I

Reply November 6, 2011, 6:02 pm

Eric Charles

Sure, but it depends on the question…
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The saying is true that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of “cure”.
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Problem is, most women don’t come looking for dating advice unless something is already broken…
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So if I know what your relationship question is, I’ll give you my 2 cents…

Reply November 6, 2011, 10:13 pm

Jacqueline

Communication is key but sometimes the message is missed. I reconnected with an old school friend on Facebook (damn that Facebook sometimes – Haha). My friend told me from the start he was only interested in being physical and did not want anything emotional since he was just separated from his wife and headed for divorce. He pursued and pursued me and finally got me. I knew it was wrong to get involved but eventually my emotions won and of course I got attached. I knew he was seeing other people too but I kept going. It was a hellish year for me to say the least. I’ve never had so many emotional ups and downs in my life. But in the end, I faced the truth. I had a lot of support from my friends and decided to take some anti-anxiety meds, which really helped to rationalize my thoughts. My friend was honest from the beginning and never promised me a “relationship.” How could I be angry? I knew the truth all along. Being able to recognize the truth helped me immensley. The old saying “The truth will set you free” is so true! I have a new sense of myself. Believe it or not but we are still friends. He still texts a couple of times a week just to say hello and to see how I’m doing. And we’ll see each other ocassionally for lunch or dinner. He was understanding and supportive during my many emotional rants and raves and could’ve run a long time ago but instead he chose to stay. We are still working on coming to that “middle” ground. I’m really ok with just being friends but he wants to continue the physical part, which doesn’t work for me. He says he respects that and still makes comments here and there. I just shrug it off and don’t go running to him like before. Deep in my heart I knew he wasn’t meant for me but I’m glad we are still friends. I’d rather have him in my life than be without him. This has been a life lesson and I’m glad he’s the one I shared it with. We are all different and have to do what’s best for ourselves. Be patient and dig deep into yourself, the truth is in there. It takes courage to do the right thing sometimes. I love this site, it has provided a lot of insight on men, which has helped me to better understand my friend. Thanks Eric! :)

Reply November 3, 2011, 4:46 pm

Joanne

I need to know how you turned him from being a f*ck buddy to being your friend? I want to do this with a guy, but stupid me fell for him. I am doing no contact with him (soooo hard), but eventually once I have gotten over my feelings for him, I want to be friends cuz he is amazing outside of the bedroom as he is inside the bedroom. :)

Reply November 15, 2011, 12:16 am

Happy

Time. Time heals all wounds. And you look back and say…Whaaat? I thought THAT of him? Like was all everything to ME? Yeah NO. Done it been there. TIME. Brings perspective and relief. Just try to keep the distance because you know…when you realize how NOT hot enough they are? To be around you in that way? That’s when they work REALLY HARD to get you back! NO NO NO! Didn’t work before baby ain’t gonna work NOW if nothing has changed in your life dude. :D My two cents. <3

Reply November 15, 2011, 12:23 am

Jacqueline

Hi Joanne,
It didn’t happen overnight and I don’t think it can happen with everyone. It just depends on the two of you. Every situation is different. I knew him in middle and high school so we have a friendship history. The no contact rule was very difficult for me. Going cold turkey was not my answer, for some it might be, but not for me. I slowly cut back on how often I texted him. He’s the one that mostly initates contact now. I have said everything I had to say to him about my feelings so now my text/phone replies to him are friendly and light. If you start contact with him again, don’t keep bringing up your feelings if that’s your tendency. After a while it gets tiring and what’s the point??? It’s not going to change his feelings for you and will drive him away completely. Even tough I am done showing my emotions to my friend it doesn’t mean I don’t feel them sometimes. He obviously wanted to maintain a friendship so I decided that’s what we would only be. I had to “let go” of all other expectations. Not easy, took lots of time, and lots of tears. Had he not shown any interest in wanting to maintain a friendship, I would’ve walked away. Like I said, every situation is different. If you think you can really be friends, then try when you’re ready. This is tricky though and you can fool yourself. So dig deep and see if it can really work. If he shows he’s only interested in the one thing, then there’s your truth and walk away. I know it won’t be easy but you’ll open up the opportunity to find the guy that will want you in and out of bed!

Reply November 15, 2011, 4:06 pm

Kate Jones

My method can be used in reality, providing you have enough will power and self respect to exercise it. Although life isn’t clear cut, and people make mistakes, people change their mind, it’s not always clear where you stand etc, the one thing you can be clear about is your boundaries. It’s not about knowing where you want a certain relationship to go from the outset, no one can sensibly make that kind of call beforehand. It’s about knowing from the outset how you wish to be treated, and asserting those boundaries, even in the face of someone making the choice to reject you for them. This is not about blame, it’s about the benefits of letting go of the need to control the situation.
There are gray areas, but that’s where being an adult and taking responsibility for making a judgement based on how someone makes you feel comes in. It’s not idealism. It’s having a realistic healthy relationship with yourself and the people around you.
‘People make mistakes’ is a good line to take when we need to cut ourselves some slack over a past error of judgement. ‘People make mistakes’ is not a good line to take when it means passively making allowances for other people’s behaviour, convincing yourself a guy who doesn’t want a relationship doesn’t know his own mind, and negotiating excuses as to why you should be OK with someone not respecting your time or the value of your company, instead of letting a guy sweep the dust off the vacant ‘sweet spot’ he tried to put you in.

Reply October 28, 2011, 8:00 am

lynn

Hi, I really like the way you put things. I am at this time meeting this guy and he also slowly backs off. I have that feeling of wanting to let go as I know it will hurt me but then also feels the pain as I know I really like him. Foolishness to like him when I know that if truly backs off and not even see the best in me then I should not be letting him enter in my life that much.
We know each other from work for a few months and started seeing each other in a month’s time. The first time I saw him I really have that feeling this guy’s smile and suddenly we have a chance to know each other. It started to be sweet and I do not know why he suddenly backs off, I can remember he gave me a cuddle which feels good and I thought that was it but then he suddenly backs off the next time we saw each other. He just sent me home and fixed some stuff in my house and left and was colder. I do not know what is wrong but it feels sad when he turn to be like that all of a sudden. I did not tell him of what I feel for him yet as I still do not have the courage as he is also my workmate and will also bump with him in a few times.
I started that back off mood and did not contact him too but he called me up and still it was not the same as the start. I cannot process what is this yet but i am afraid i will hurt myself if I keep hoping for him to really make it official.

Reply June 23, 2012, 7:06 pm

uigs

Kate Jones – You are one smart woman!!!! Brilliantly said!

Reply July 16, 2013, 1:06 pm

d

Well this is a first for me. Been seeing this guy for about 3 months. He told me he had a friend in another country from the beginning. The friend knows nothing about me. Maybe I am stupid. I did not realize his definition of friend. Tells me I am not seeing anyone else. Ask me could I love him forever. Ok humm. His friend get cancer and her mother is dying. WTF??? Ok I am still breathing. Ok I am thinking maybe they both with die (O that is soo bad)… Tells me he made a promise to her but won’t tell me what the promise is. Ok.. I don’t think it will work “it will fall flat on it’s face” Ok, so does this mean I am the back up?? In the beginning he called and texted me every day. Now it has been 2 day nothing. He did not answer my last text. I have made myself not text him. We are usually together on the weekends as we live 50 miles apart. Tomorrow is Friday. So what do I do if he calls?? Or what do I do if he don’t call?? I know I must must not call or text him. I am preplexed? Suggestions??

Reply October 27, 2011, 5:40 pm

Katie

I wish Kate’s method could be used in reality.

The truth is that her theory is based on an assumption that everyone is so sure about what they want when involved with someone. I know, ethically, you’re supposed to know what you are doing and what you want and what type of partner you are looking for, otherwise dont mess around with others etc. I totally respect that and hope that people could do this in life. The theory does have its appealing effect, everything is so clear-cut and we know exactly where we stand with everyone and in life.

But then again, we are human beings, we make mistakes, and emotions can get messy at times, even for a most level-headed guy or girl, we all have our moments, thats just how we are build when we are born to this life. Sometimes we meed the right people when we are not emotionally ready, then sometimes we meet people who aint so emotional ready when we actually got things together and are ready. Things like that happen..

Whats the point of blaming who is doing what, or rather who is NOT doing what and what is the right way of going about things/relationships?

Every experience either sad and happy comes into our life with its own unique purpose, it’s up to you as an individual to dig out the positive bits and use them help you grow as a person.

No one is perfect, at least not all the time.

Reply October 27, 2011, 11:35 am

Dee

Great post Katie.

Reply January 18, 2012, 4:39 am

lu

well said……

Reply May 29, 2014, 12:20 pm

Matilda

Here here.

Reply October 27, 2011, 10:04 am

Kate Jones

Trying to control someone else’s behaviour suggests an unreadiness on both sides to have a trusting fulfiling relationship where both people can be accepted as themselves. Guy tries to control the level of distance by managing girl’s expectations, blowing hot and cold, (which as innocently as it might seem, come on, it involves systematic flattery and rejection, i’e head fuck and writing about it negates the ‘I’m doing it unconsciously’ theory a wee bit). Girl tries to control situation by doing what she thinks it would take to pin him into a relationship, whether it be guilt tripping (can’t believe he’s using me), pretending to not want a relationship herself (I’m so aloof, prove to your ego you can win me over) or trying to get into his head space by browsing the internet to try and figure him out.

Solution, honest discussion, though most of the time it’s quite a readable situation – Exhibit A being having to ask about it. In this case, both take responsibility for what they want and stop apologising for it, and letting go of the need to control the outcome. Guy: I don’t want a relationship. If that’s what you want, I’m not for you. Girl: I do want one, but respect you and myself enough to accept that you don’t, and am going to move on to someone else. Doesn’t even need discussion. If a guy senses a girl wants a relationship, but he doesn’t he should back off; not back off and come back, back off. Equally for a girl, if a guy is being inconsistent, he is not behaving like relationship material, is showing you he ain’t that great at it, accept, stop the bargaining, and back off, self esteem intact.

This way maybe the negative stereotypes of guy as unfeeling commitment phobic user, and girl as needy, clingy, crazy lady can be put in the disused pigeon holes they belong in, and everyone can stop feeling shit about themselves.

Reply October 27, 2011, 4:31 am

Eric Charles

Awesome comment Kate. A really clearheaded and helpful perspective, stated concisely in plain English.
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Thanks for writing that – damn, you should have a column. ;)

Reply October 27, 2011, 11:15 am

Chaitra

Hi, Eric
My problem is that the more distant I become He will be more far from me.. If I don’t message or call he won’t seem to be bothered… He will just message me once in 2-3 days and just ends up after few texts… So i will message him or call him daily but sometimes i feel i am losing my self-respect by doing the things opposite to my character…(coz i am not a type of girl who initiate conversation with anyone).. and whenever i quarrel with him, He won’t talk until I message or call again… Recently I had a fight and from 2 weeks I haven’t spoken to him… even he hasn’t… I feel he is not into me… What do u suggest me to do??

Reply October 20, 2011, 2:03 am

Cass

Thanks I love audrey hepburn! I like reading your comments, they are realistic and straight to the point, they make a lot of sense to me :-)

Reply October 10, 2011, 6:09 pm

I_Love_Audrey_Hepburn

Oh, just to clarify, by my last comment, I certainly wasn’t referring to you, Cass ;-) you sound quite switched on. I too am yet to come across a single female soul who believes with her heart and soul in the ‘hookup’. I believe that women that pretend to be ‘cool’ with such a situation are not being honest with themselves deep down – especially if they are keen on the guy. A lot of it comes down to low self-esteem in women, when they are prepared to take a guy’s ‘scraps’ as opposed to standing alone on their own two feet. A life without affection at all sounds scary, right? But isn’t being completely single, clear-headed and holding out for true love a better option that being treated less than sincerely? Yes, many guys will try the ‘hook-up’, of course they will, but it’s up to any self-respecting girl to create personal boundaries for herself, to be able to logically and emotionally size up the situation and decide whether it is likely to be a healthy experience for her in the long run. If one takes a step backwards and views the situation a little more analytically, it becomes clearer. Love is there, and that’s the ultimate goal for most people, but it requires patience and a bit of discrimination. Enough of the ‘imaginery relationships’, as they will just do your head in.

Reply October 10, 2011, 7:05 am

Cass

regarding myself, I am in a very healthy and happy long term relationship, and I feel very happy. but I have had some negative experiences before, and have had many friends who have. I guess I am just interested philosophically regarding this as I studied feminism at University, and have a keen interest in understanding men. i have experienced angst in the past though, and this forum does help me understad things!

Reply October 10, 2011, 6:07 am

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

Not to be funny about it, but reading some of the women’s angst on here it is obvious that many are suffering from low self-esteem and clinging onto dysfunctional and dead end ‘relationships’. You would have more clarity and understanding from taking a step back and pretending it is a 3rd party with the same situation. ‘Imaginery’ reationships – not fun. Empowermenrt and respect for oneself is about learning which situations are healthy for the human heart and which ones hinder it. Suggested reading: ‘He’s just not that into’. Brutal advice, written by a male co-author. Sometimes ‘tough love’ is needed. The bottom line is if he doesn’t call…or text or email (in this crazy modern day world) he’s really just not inspired or interested in you enough. Even the shyest of guys pursue what they want, so please stop making excuses when the interest lags or is non-existent to begin with…

Reply October 10, 2011, 4:05 am

Eric Charles

:)
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True dat. I can’t endorse or speak against “He’s Not That Into You”. I know it’s really popular, but I don’t know what it’s about.
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Sabs has read all the popular relationship books and she’s basically a lethal weapon in the dating world, so she might comment at some point.

Reply October 10, 2011, 4:00 pm

Jan259

There is a great book that came out when many of these readers were young. Not sure if Sabrina has read it or not but it is called “In the Meantime” by Iyanla VanZant. It is excellent. She refocuses women onto themselves and to stop blaming men for being jerks because we pick them etc. She points out how women expect their life to begin when a relationship starts but she tells them to start it now: buy that house, go on that vacation etc. She exploded onto the scene on Oprah in the late 90′s. I read that book so many times I broke the binding. Highly suggested!

Reply November 30, 2011, 6:16 am

Cass

I think that overall it is only men who enjoy this casual sex thing. I think hardly any woman truly deep inside like it, i think it might be because men are more objective and see sex as a thing they are doing, however women may not mind this if its a one night stand, but as soon as the guy contacts again, the woman feels happy and flattered and thinks there may be more to it. Sigh… i know that some happy fulfilled women may say they like it, but i think its very rare that they do, only a tiny proportion probably do. However if they are aware its a booty call all good, if they arent it must be made clear. But then again, i think some mens logic is that it must be obvious enough without them having to say it, as its not been discussed as anything more then a booty call. I mean a booty call sholdnt start with taking the women out to dinner right? Shouldnt the guy just say ‘come over to my place”? Then us women would know straight away what it is! and we can decide with that knowledge whether we want it or not.
Eric, i like you comment: “different strokes for different folks” :-)

Reply October 10, 2011, 3:50 am

lu

When my friend and I met, we discussed over breakfast (pre-sex) that we were going to be fwb’s. flat out….i want to know flat out, so i will know how to proceed. and if you don’t say, I will ask. Because after 2 times and spending time together feelings could develop.

Reply May 29, 2014, 12:49 pm

Matilda

No one is saying sex is bad, I believe. It’s pretty much the closest thing you can find to heaven on earth. But like anything else that is delightful (food, money, alcohol, skydiving, drugs, you name it), it’s how you handle it that determines your happiness.

As far as clarity and despair are concerned, I’ve talked to a lot of guys who carry around bad feelings about their booty call relationships precisely because they had shut down their consciences and empathy to keep them going. A few years ago, a smart, wise and usually stoic friend of mine (a man who had been a horn dog in his youth) actually choked up when talking about a woman he had hurt because he tried to keep the booty call going while sensing she would have liked more if he gave it to her. Not sure what happened there (he didn’t say), but he regrets hurting someone who he thought of as a good person.

I’ve heard this from more than a few guys.

Reply October 9, 2011, 8:32 pm

Eric Charles

OK, I agree. We’re on the same page on all those points.

Reply October 10, 2011, 3:56 pm

Eric Charles

I say do what makes you happy.
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Some people are greedy. Some men are. Some women are.
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Some people are inconsiderate.
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Some people are just… well… assholes.
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Some people are emotionally unstable.
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Some people are ignorant to their own emotions.
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Some people are immature.
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But people need to learn what makes them happy for themselves. I don’t support the vibe of “don’t have sex, it’s EVIL and BAD and men are taking advantage of you, etc. etc.”
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Take it elsewhere please.

Reply October 9, 2011, 1:33 pm

Eric Charles

As a quick note:
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I don’t mean that personally against any individual person commenting here – I appreciate all of you.
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But I don’t like the discussion to take on political, religious or cultural overtones. There is no one right answer or way to live your life.
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“Different strokes for different folks” has a lot of wisdom in it.
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There was another comment on the boards advocating using men as “tools” for whatever purpose they best serve and to “keep a full toolbox”. Like a box of sexual chocolates.
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I don’t support that vibe either – the take whatever pleasure you can get from people approach.
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I primarily want to help bring people from a place of despair to a place of clarity and control and show them a way where they can feel happy and fulfilled, then bring that into the relationship style of their choice.
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If they want to booty call around, do it up. If they want to wait for sex until marriage, that’s fine too.
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It’s not about me. It’s about what they want and giving it to them.

Reply October 9, 2011, 1:40 pm

Matilda

That’s such a lovely sentiment, Mary. Someone wrote something once that has stuck with me — and I live by this actually — “why would you ever sleep with someone who doesn’t make your heart sing?” This is true for both men and women.

The men I know who “use” women for booty calls are, even in little ways, sadder for having done so, whether they know it or not. They seem somehow meaner and colder inside and start behaving in ways that are not in touch with reality. They shut down parts of their humanity. (There is, however, a big cultural difference among some men depending on their religion and origin, which is another story altogether — I’m talking about Western men and predominately American men.)

This is what I meant when I said that objectifiers suffer as much as the objects they use. They are tearing off their wings, their humanity, for the sake of an illusion.

Reply October 9, 2011, 8:55 am

Mary Davis

I recently have been contemplating this same senario in a relationship and I think the poet Rumi sums it up perfectly….
“When you have indulged in lust your wings drop off you become lame abandoned by fantasy. People fancy they are enjoying themselves but they are really tearing out their wings for the sake on an illusion”.
Would like to hear your thoughts.
M

Reply October 9, 2011, 8:30 am

Eric Charles

I do not share this viewpoint.

Reply October 9, 2011, 1:31 pm

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

What is the point of a ‘hookup’ scene? Sex, sex, sex…is that the end all or the be all? Usually both men and women (and emphasis on women) alike end up feeling pretty empty when they realise that sex outside of a solid and enduring emotional connection is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s a temporary euphoria or act of physical passion followed by a lengthier sense of emptiness, similar to taking an ecstasy tablet, and realising the temporary high you had is not only unsustainable, it is followed by a earth crashing reality check when you realise your emotions are missing the orgasm that your body might (or might not) have had. When two people are having sex without having made the strong emotional connection that lucky couples in healthy relationships have, it leaves them with a stronger sense of yearning for that missing element, than if they had of stayed celibate and unobstructed on their path to a more meaningful, true love.

Reply October 3, 2011, 6:02 pm

Eric Charles

I think the real problem is people trying to use sex or relationship to fill a void.
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Which (I think) is what you’re driving at with the comment about celibacy.
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True love is great. But there are a lot of great things that can come from having great sexual experiences too.
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Sex is a powerful emotional experience and tends to exacerbate one’s general emotional state. Unfulfilled people eventually end up feeling further unfulfilled when they try filling the void with sex. Emotionally unstable people tend to become MUCH more unstable when they start having sex with someone.
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But well-grounded, fulfilled and happy people tend to handle sexual relationships (whether or not it’s a “love relationship”) just fine. They’re able to enjoy it for what it is and not need it to be something other than what it is.

Reply October 3, 2011, 6:59 pm

FancyMe

Hello!
I am first stating that I agree with Eric. We see eye to eye on most things, when i started reading these coloumns it was mostly because a guy whom i had inteded to be a hook up almost played me. I mean he barely missed, but he sure did confuse me there for a while, hence my point: Honesty is the rarest , hardest to find and most appreciated virtue that human beings often lack.
For that there are many reasons, mostly because we all claim to want the truth and want to hear the truth but sometimes we don’t know what the truth actually means. Sometimes it’s slapping us in the face and we still choose to ignore it or work around it, motivated by emotions that cloud our judgements and blind us. At other times we simply never take the time and courage to state the truth to ourselves so when we seek it elsewhere we don’t even know what it looks like. We demand it from others, sometimes it so happens that we get it and end up hurt, dissapointed, frustrated, insulted and even outraged.
My advice to that is treat yourself like a subject, for a moment be someone else and try to invision what they see when they see you. Then go back inside yourself and find the things you know about yourself that no one outside you can see or know, unless you let them. Now the hardest part is be blunt and criticise yourself for a while as if you were someone else and just see how you feel. Example : Tell yourself you are needy, bad-tempered, greedy, immature and so on and imagine someone whose opinion you value is telling you these things and find out what hurts, what really hurts and those things that trigger pain are most likely to be true. Then find everything good and flattering about yourself and bring it to light, anything about you that makes you feel confident, optimistic and happy. Most definitely never, ever lie to yourself. Now balance all you know about yourself and mold your image into who or how you want to be seen by everyone around you. Knowing all you can know about yourself and choosing how little or how much you want everyone you interact with to see gives you a sense of power and stability.
Trust me most people you will come in contact with will only be able to see what you show them. I choose to let some people see just a little bit of me, others i want to see my best and some I even choose to show my worse. I have come to terms with the fact that only I will ever be able to know myself and also that I can never know anyone else completely. Some might think it’s a bit sad, I find it refreshing because i don’t end up seting myself up for dissapointment and rather than manipulating or playing people I simply enjoy uncovering them, understanding them. At this point in my life I am simply glad that I can tell when someone is not done figuring themselves out because it is a long process that never truly ends.
My next comment is related to sex and how a few people here mentioned that most women can’t really enjoy the hook up or the meaningless sex. I thought that was true up untill a few years ago. After my relationship ended I was idle, celibate for a year. I took my time to figure myself out and heal or rather come to terms with the reality of what had happened and how I had dealt with it. Heart breaks sure are a mess and they hurt like hell, people tend to blame themselves their partner, all men or even the filthy cruel world we live in. But when you realise that you had been in constant pain for years, before your heart was broken you see its not all you or all him neither it is all mens fault or the worlds its is simply the horrible choice I had made to live life in a broken way. When it all came crashing down for a moment there I thought, good. Its now or never, if there is a moment to reinvent myself and build up on this post nuclear holocaust its now. It took time and tears, even now as I am fulfilled and satisfied with my life bitter memories still bring tears to my eyes, even more so the happy ones. I wouldn’t have it any other way, at some point we all have to stop regreting, just live and learn. That was my first and up untill now only love. I could not imagine sex outside of that love bubble.
As time went by I had time to think about it and soon enough i realised they are completely separate things. Sex is an activity and in itself it has nothing to do with love or affection. However there is nothing more magical than being intimate with someone you feel strongly about, I have always seen it that way and I would be lying if I said I didn’t know or belive that. But having sex and having sex with someone you love or feel really close to are very different experiences. If most women have trouble with casuality it is because they often confuse the two of them, or they can’t tell them apart or they simply don’t know, believe or think that they are two different things.
I can only say that sex in itself without any attachment has its very own charm, its easy and whats most important for me its honest. All of my hook ups are great guys that i enjoy seeing and I feel absolutely nothing for. We have an amazing time, we say what we think, we know what we want. It all comes down to how well you know yourself and where you stans as well as what you want from the people around you. I m not saying go out there and start hooking up right this instant, but just dont think of sex as anything emotional or deep or meaningful for a moment but just a very pleasing human interaction. That is what men see it like and that is why they are fine with it. If you can tell the difference between sex and emotional intimacy it will not only improve your sex life but it will strengthen your relationships if and when you choose to be in one.

Reply March 9, 2012, 8:13 am

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

Quite frankly, a simple discussion about what is going on is feared to kill the passion and momentum of what is going on and is hence avoided. But two people generally get at least a very good intuition and insight into each other’s feelings.

Yes, Eric, I do agree that people, both men and women are responsible for their own emotions. But in terms of emotional health it is also recommended to follow lifestyles that contribute towards a healthy state of mind, rather than than follow lifestyles that do not nurture our emotional state of mind or reinforce the positive concepts of our sense of self, which for a woman would no doubt include her worthiness of being able to sustain a healthy, committed, stable and secure relationship. So, whilst I agree, people need to firstly have self-esteem, confidence and healthy emotions off their own bat, it also helps women to realise that unwittingingly involving herself and sleeping with men who are just after hookups can shake, and in worse cases, shatter even the healthiest self esteem. This is because from a psychological perspective, human self-esteem is only partly created from it’s own internal processes, the rest of it is based on affirmation from the external world of peers, social groups etc. – which of course includes lovers. Let’s cut through the crap, Eric, you are an experienced man, you know what I’m saying is true. So emotional responsibility on one’s own behalf is an aspect that is greatly important, yes, but so is the responsibility of other’s actions towards the human heart and mankind in general. By taking ownership away from the responsibility of the man to apply a conscience to a hookup scene is selfish at least, cruel and heartless at worst.

Reply October 3, 2011, 5:50 pm

Eric Charles

I agree with this: “self-esteem, confidence and healthy emotions off their own bat”
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Here’s my central issue with what you’re saying. It hinges on what people “should” be doing.
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The second that you start saying what the man “should” be doing you are taking the power away from women to handle their situation responsibly.
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Why?
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Because these women are IN LOVE with these men. They already feel out of control and emotional.
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I’m trying to show them that they do have control and the control starts with taking personal responsibility for what’s happening in their relationship and that starts with getting control over themselves and making decisions which demands a clear, calm, rational mind.
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Even if the guy is at fault, they don’t want to hear it when they’re in the emotional state they’re in. They are not looking for someone to blame. They are not looking for someone to “should” them.
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They are looking for a way out of their emotional pain and overwhelm back to a place of clarity and calm. Where they have control over themselves.
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Talking about what men “should” be doing isn’t helpful. Plain and simple. That’s why I make it a point to wipe that vibe out from this website – neither Sabrina nor I want any part of that because it’s not helpful to women and breeds discontent for no benefit.
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When I work with guys, I am glad to share the things that women wished they knew so that they can be excellent in relationship.
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But when I’m talking to women, I am trying to bridge understanding and breed personal responsibility… which means ending the “blaming” and “finger pointing”.
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I can’t think of a more unhelpful thing to do than to take a reader who is already in mental anguish and then give her a frame that she’s being taken advantage of by a “selfish”, “cruel” and “heartless” man.
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When I give dating advice, I think to myself, “What would I want someone telling my sister if she was in this position?” And obviously I care for my sister very much.

Reply October 3, 2011, 6:52 pm

Matilda

Sorry Eric. I should have prefaced everything with thanks for your honesty. And I completely agree that women who want a relationship should just say so at the appropriate point (instead of blaming the guy for using her) while men who don’t want a relationship should just say so at the appropriate point (and not keep doing the back and forth to hang onto the sweet spot). It’s amazing the crazy sexual things that people can do with one another but simple discussion about what is going on often feels, well, inappropriate.

Reply October 3, 2011, 5:30 pm

Eric Charles

Your comment made me smile.
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Cool – I think we’re on the same page. :)

Reply October 3, 2011, 6:35 pm

Eric Charles

All right. I feel like we’re at least hearing each other now, so I’m willing to clarify.
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It’s not that I’m advocating that everyone should be running around hooking up and having casual relationships. I’ve certainly calmed down and most people (men and women) are seeking a committed, long-term relationship with a great partner.
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But here’s the problem with being old-fashioned… The old “fashion” fit into a society that doesn’t exist anymore.
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It’s a good thing to have personal values and morals to live by. Living in integrity with your own morals and values is tremendously important.
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However, different strokes for different folks. And ignoring viewpoints of other people and asserting your own as the only “right” way is just… well… not a very effective mindset. It’s a wall. It’s anti-communication.
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I’ll acknowledge that some women really would benefit best from what you’re saying. But I say that because they can’t emotionally handle the potential consequences of any other approach. That type of woman refuses to take responsibility for her emotions and blames men or her relationships as being the problem. But the core problem is emotional maturity.
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A person’s emotions are THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. A man’s own emotions are his responsibility. And a woman’s emotions are her responsibility.
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It’s called locus of control. If someone chooses to have an external locus of control (as in, the world affects them, they are the victim, something outside of them is always to blame for their shortcomings), then I can’t help that person. Self-improvement and improving one’s own situation (or growing in general) is only possible when someone takes responsibility for themselves, their actions and their emotions.
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My point here is that when a woman wants to make something external to her the “problem” instead of looking at how she handles HERSELF, there is no end to it. There is no end to all the external thing she can point her finger at.
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You can say I’m touchy, but think about the position I’m in.
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I write a column to try and help women have better relationships and my perspective ALWAYS hinges on taking personal responsibility and pursuing emotional maturity. Those things I do advocate and I have no problem taking a firm stand on that.
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So in taking that stance, I try to shine the light on consciousness on comments that have an air of external blaming or not taking responsibility for ones own actions and consequences.
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Because in the end… the only way that a person can improve their situation is if they take responsibility and handle their emotions. A person can’t play the victim card AND expect to improve their circumstances.

Reply October 3, 2011, 4:56 pm

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

I’m glad that you appreciate my posts Eric. I do believe in the empowerment and self-esteem of women. I also believe that liberation (and widely known in inner circles of women’s huddle groups) is in fact embracing old-fashioned values like abstinence and actually ‘courting’ i.e closing the legs until you get to know a man and a man’s motivations. It’s common sense and these values are designed to protect women’s hearts, dignity, self esteem…to prevent unwanted pregnancies and stds…just to name a few. I know that is so at odds at the ‘casual hook up scene’ that you so keenly discuss as though this is the norm. Sometimes a differing point of view is needed for perspective and opening up debate. The above poster was doing just that, explaining the importance of honesty in relationships, but it appears that you have started to get quite ‘touchy’ over your apparent defense of the casual hook up scene. Each to one’s own if there is actually an arrangement out there that works for both parties, I am yet to be privy of knowledge of such a working arrangement that lasts long term. Generally speaking, it fizzles out as one party starts to want more, or it becomes apparent that without the emotional depth it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. And let’s face it, isn’t the aim for most women and men alike a long-term of committment of sorts? Most men and women yearn to meet their most suitable match and forge an intimate, emotional, physical and spiritual endurance with that person and learn to grow on every aspect making the experience an enriching melding of souls? This is not just an old-fashioned concept, it is what MOST people want. So by you saying to me that in ‘general’, sexual hook ups are the norm and that I should accept that, it is defying the truth and the common sense of the general public at large. It also defying the truth about the woman’s psyche and general needs. I can accept differing lifestyle choices, but I know that in my own experience and through observing others, the hookup lifestyle leads to a ‘blow out’ scenario, either the tire blows up dramatically or gets flat slowly and can’t go anywhere, leading to a feeling of emptiness on both parties, and usually contributing to low self-esteem in women. And just because women you ‘hook up’ with are not actively ‘voicing’ their opposition, needs or concerns to you whilst sleeping with you and talking to you, does not mean that they aren’t feeling confused by the arrangement. Women have been conditioned by a variety of modern day medium to suppress their emotions around the man they are involved with, lest they be labelled the ‘emotional wreck’ or ‘bunny boiler’. It is unfortunate that this leads to emotional repression, but it does. Her girlfriends will hear the tales of woe, but the instigator of those tales of woe rarely hears the ‘real deal’ during the journey until the ‘blow out’ stage at the very end. I arrived at a much better place in my romantic life when I realised that casual hookups were toxic to the psyche and actually blocked the pathway to finding true love. I learnt as of about 4 years ago, that that as soon as women learn to respect their bodies, their values, their hearts and their boundaries, it is when good men arrive at their doorsteps and into their hearts. As soon I started drawing the boundaries around my body when engaged in the dating scene, the men with less than savoury motivations dropped off where they belonged, and the genuine men looking for relationships stepped in. It inspired me, because I dated so many gentlemen as a result. It was how I finally met the most amazing man of my dreams. Casual hook up scenes are a ‘norm’ only to players. Everybody else aspires to find a rewarding and fulfilling relationship. If you want to ‘pass the time’ in the meantime, do it with your hand if you must, a human heart is too valuable a thing to play with.

Reply October 3, 2011, 4:04 pm

Eric Charles

“My partner and I counsel both men and women in meeting life’s challenges.”
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Gotcha… OK, that makes sense. That’s my gig too, so I guess that’s the source of your energy to keep asserting your viewpoint.
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I’m all for honest and open communication. We agree and I never negated that.
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But if she’s not voicing a concern, I’m going to do what makes me happy. I’ll be considerate, kind and generous. And there’s nothing out of integrity for a guy to be OK with just hooking up and keeping things light and focused on hooking up.
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There is something out of integrity for a guy to deliberately bait and leverage a woman’s desire for a relationship in order to use her for sex.
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Again, for the last 3 or 4 messages you’ve just been fixated on making me “wrong”. I’m cutting the cord.
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I’m done with this discussion, especially because we ultimately agree and I don’t feel like anything I’m saying is sinking in for you anyway.
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If a woman wants a relationships and the foundation has been laid, she should communicate that and be willing to walk away if the guy isn’t looking for the same thing.
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If she doesn’t communicate that she wants something different or that she isn’t happy, then there is absolutely no reason that the guy is “wrong” for being content with that arrangement – if she seems fine and he’s fine, then there is no reason to assume there’s a problem.
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And enough with the manipulation vs. consideration topic. The dead horse has been beaten.
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Consideration = you would talk to your grandmother different than you’d talk to your girlfriends. That’s consideration. You consider and calibrate how you’re coming across and you modulate accordingly. And you do it because you care about the people you’re interacting with.
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Manipulation = you focus on someone’s weak or pain point, press on it and then use their emotional weakness to take from them. Not only do you not care if they’re in pain or anguish, you *depend* on that pain and anguish and use it as your vehicle to control and take from the other person. Nobody is talking about that here.
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Can we wrap this up now? PLEASE?

Reply October 3, 2011, 3:35 pm

Matilda

Eric, you’re right. It is becoming an argument but it’s not because I have an open wound (don’t know how you can jump to that…I can assure you that is not the case) It’s because my partner and I counsel both men and women in meeting life’s challenges. One of the greatest challenges people face in living a happy life is the failure to live authentically and honestly.

Nowhere is this problem more evident than in intimate relationships.

As for your denial that the situation you describe is manipulative, look at your own words. You say “me wanting things to be comfortable.” What you mean is that you want things to be comfortable for you — her needs are not even in the picture. That, my friend, is the very definition of using someone for your own gratification without regards to their feelings. That’s manipulating someone just as if they were an object — something that makes both the objectifier and the object pretty disconnected and unhappy in the long run. Nothing sweet about it.

What’s the answer? Honesty and open communication (that’s all I have been saying from the get-go. If you like the sweet spot, simply say so — simply say “I want to see you but don’t want a relationship. Is that good for you?” Once you do this, she has an opportunity to communicate her needs. No one is really getting used.

Reply October 3, 2011, 2:20 pm

I _love_Audrey_Heburn

I’m not sure you are going to find much female support for your ‘stasis’ argument, Eric. As much as it is insightful and useful to hear a man’s perspective on relationship issues, not too many women take too lightly this perspective of ‘sweet (anything but) stasis’ you willingly seem to advocate. It either shows an ignorance of the women’s needs or an indifference to them. It also shows complete selfishness on behalf of a man playing this manipulative game. The problem therein lies that you are denoting casual ‘no strings attached’ flings as benign and carefree acts of happiness, when in actual fact, according to most women, women’s observations, women’s experience – and even 3rd party studies, they are malignant and the source of much heartbreak and low self-esteem issues. Think carefully before advocating sex outside of a relationship. We have been programmed through the advent of popular feminism pushed throughout the 80′s and 90′s that this was a ‘liberating’ trend when infact the evidence points towards the exact opposite. The truth of the matter is, the gender gap, although able to be narrowed in the workplace, is not really possible in the field of relationships and sex, instead it is better to honour the differences between the sexes and acknowledge each other’s needs in tow, in a venus/mars type analogy. One cannot help but feel disdain for men who only honours their own differences whilst not incorporating in the needs of the female psyche, which happen for the most part to be security, stability, committment and the feeling of being loved.

Reply October 3, 2011, 9:15 am

Eric Charles

That’s where you’re not hearing me.
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Where I look at this as a clarification of my points, you look at it as an argument.
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Where I look at this as trying to build understanding so that women can take the perspective and improve their relationships in their lives, you look at it as me advocating a course of action.
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I think I’ve clarified my viewpoint enough. If you want to call it an argument… cool, you win.
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If you want to look at this as me advocating me advocating manipulation… well… if I haven’t convinced you that that’s not what I’m saying by now… you ain’t gonna be convinced.
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Can’t devote any more energy to this though. Hope you (and anyone reading) got something out of this.
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P.S. Nothing against you – I’m glad to have you as a reader and commenter here, Audrey. I’ve seen lots of your comments and you genuinely try to inspire and help women and I will always support that. But it’s like… there’s a certain amount of time and energy that I can put into a particular thread before it comes down to an “agree to disagree” situation.

Reply October 3, 2011, 2:06 pm

Matilda

It’s hurtful because it’s totally manipulative. Look at what Eric says: “At that point, I start thinking I’ve gone too far. I’ve pushed her away and now I’m going to lose her. I start putting in more effort… my goal being that I’d like to return to “stasis” – that perfect sweet spot of comfortable company and sexual satisfaction without having to tie myself down to any relationship.”

He’s intentionally modulating his presence, his effort, his affection to return to “stasis,” a state where he gets sex but no relationship.

What Eric doesn’t understand is that this is just like any other form of manipulation. Trying to twist someone into a “stasis” that suits his needs and his needs alone. Just say it out loud — “hey, I’d like to keep seeing you but am not interested in a relationship. Are you up for that?” Let the woman decide rather than pull away, put more effort in, pull away, put more effort in, all in a sad game of trying to maintain “stasis.”

It sucks to be manipulated, man or woman.

Reply October 3, 2011, 8:28 am

Eric Charles

You’re fixated on this. I can’t pour any more time into this, this is becoming an argument… think what you want, but calling something manipulative implies intent. The example that I put in the post was me wanting things to be comfortable.
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It was done out of consideration so that the relationship didn’t go down a path where she would end up hurt. Consideration was the intent, not manipulation – if I had a feeling that I was doing something hurtful, I wouldn’t do it.
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And you have to understand that when I wrote that example, it was to illustrate a guy’s mindset in that kind of situation.
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Anyway – I’m done restating this to you. I hope you understand that if a guy does something like this, it’s not to take from you or hurt you. It’s usually sourced from trying to prevent you from being hurt…
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(And your persistence and fixation isn’t because of this article… your energy and emotion in your responses is coming from an open wound. I am being sincere when I say that I hope you can make peace with whatever happened, heal from it and adopt a positive mindset and take the walls down.)

Reply October 3, 2011, 2:00 pm

Cass

I totally agree with this last comment. I really think that most men know inside that most single women want a relationship, i dont understand how they can think the girl actually likes the booty call stuff. to me, if a man wants a booty call he should have a one night stand from a club, not contact the same girl all the time for sex. because no matter how the girl appears that she doesnt care, most have an inkling of hope it will be someting more. i think that goes for 99percent of women and that small one percent just want booty calls. I totally dont mean all women want relationships, and there are some women that like the booty call thing, i dont want to seem narrow, but most want a relationship out of it. we are not as physical as men, and alot of women connect emotionaly while having sex, even from the start. so while the man is loving it physically and not feeling connected in any other way, the women is feeling both. the “sweet spot” is a man thing mainly, and it will almost always turn to a “bitter spot” because the women will feel hurt :-( p.s. this is not from my experience, i have a loving boyfriend, its just what i have always noticed with friends, family etc

Reply October 3, 2011, 6:57 am

Eric Charles

You have to understand… that’s why I write this column. Guys typically don’t “know inside” what a woman wants.
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We try to piece it together between what movies, TV, locker room conversations, our buddies, the internet and men’s magazines tell us. And you know what all of those sources typically tell men?
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A combination of marketing, fantasy and lies.
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Not really much different for women either.
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I mean, the Eric who writes the articles has to make a lot of considerations in how he presents it. The real Eric has read thousands upon thousands of e-mails from men and women about their dating issues.
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So I’m in a unique position in terms of what I see and the pulse I have on where most men’s and women’s heads are at.
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I try to be sensitive to the fact that dating and relationships can be disappointing and frustrating, but ultimately I try my best to convey understanding of the opposite sex so that my readers can have a better relationship.
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It’s fine if you don’t agree, but I’m not really here to argue what point of view you like hearing. If you think you know better (and you might, I’m not being sarcastic here), go for it your way. Prove me wrong – if you end up happy, then I am sincerely happy for you.
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At the very least, I’m glad to have anyone (man or woman) thinking about how to have a better relationship. The relationship they’ve always wanted.

Reply October 3, 2011, 1:52 pm

Joanne

I truly appreciate all your insights and I wish I had stumbled upon this a couple months ago. Thank you for sharing what goes through a guys mind. I appreciate the honesty. I like the bluntness and I like that it’s NOT sugar coated. Tell it like it is. Sure it may hurt a bit and it may not seem fair, but it is what it is. The truth hurts. Accept it and move on. :)

Reply November 14, 2011, 11:51 pm

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

I don’t know a single hookup that hasn’t ended in tears, fears, jealousy or outrage on behalf of one person who eventually wanted more or whose needs were not met by the flimsy arrangement. Yes, women of all ages might ‘say’ they are comfortable with such arrangements, they might say it to you, but I assure you, that is not what they are saying to their girlfriends. And over time, the situation needs an outcome of sorts, with ending it being the norm. Look up ‘oxytocin’ for a major reason why a woman gets biologically and emotionally ‘hooked’ on a man she has sexual intercourse with. It’s not just a moral perspective on things, but a scientific one too. In my last post, I was in no way forcing my moral opinion on others, they are free to decide which is the way the wind blows for themselves. It ‘s just that these ‘sweet spot’ or ‘stasis’ you refer to is an a non moving entity of sorts which just doesn’t have much reality where human relationships are concerned, and the likely outcome is resentment, anger, fear and jealousy – usually on part of the female species. It is an unfair position to be pushing, when it is well known that most women crave a relationship and security. The woman is enticed back by ‘carrot dangles’ of hope it may turn into a relationship, and the man is purely feeling the physical urge. So yes, honesty and integrity is required for her to properly make up her mind about whether indulging in such a past-time is worth the trade off.

Reply October 3, 2011, 3:02 am

Eric Charles

I have read up on “oxytocin”. Brain chemicals in it of themselves are not destiny. I don’t claim to be a neuro-scientist, but I’ve read a fair bit on brain studies. Not just “love” biology but also depression, anxiety, aggression, anger, etc. etc. etc.
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A release of oxytocin for a girl who’s never had the experience might draw the conclusion that she’s met her soulmate. An more experienced woman might realize that it’s part of the emotional ride of the physical side of connecting with a man.
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There’s the core biological experience, and then there’s our interpretation of it.
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If interpretation didn’t matter, cognitive behavioral psychology wouldn’t work.
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Now here’s something you have to understand when I write these articles…
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I will bare my soul and sometimes share mindsets that I’ve had in the past that made me do what I did. I know in my heart who I am – I know that I’m much more considerate than most and much more caring than most.
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And I know that my actions weren’t driven by an intent to take advantage of a girl or manipulate her. I just wanted things to be comfortable and not go down a bad path.
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But you have to understand – I put myself out there knowing full well what I’m saying. I heavily consider what I’m sharing when I share my inner thoughts with the readers.
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I’m not advocating that a man should or shouldn’t act a certain way. And debating whether something is fair or “right” is irrelevant… people do what they want and every individual is going to ultimately follow their wants and desires.
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My goal is to share a viewpoint without ego (as much as possible) so that women can better understand the men they’re with and ultimately have better more fulfilling relationships.
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It’s not always easy and I sometimes I hit the mark better than others. But if I sugar-coated things or hid the “dirty thoughts” then I really wouldn’t be helping women. Authoring these things can be a tight-rope walk sometimes.
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And for the record, I work with guys too. And there are times where I’ll explain it simply about how women typically are or feel (or have one of my female counterparts lay down some truth) and the guys will start bitching and saying it’s not fair.
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At the end of the day, fair has nothing to do with it. You’re either willing to be aware of how people generally are and find a positive way to embrace it all, or… you’re not. (Not you personally, Audrey – I’m just sharing my overall view.)

Reply October 3, 2011, 1:45 pm

Happy

Wow Eric you the best I have ever read about this kind of stuff in 30 years (I’m in my 40′s). WOW. You are right on point brilliantly. Thank you so much…Jeez.

Reply November 6, 2011, 1:28 am

Eric Charles

Wow – thank you! I appreciate that, thanks.

Reply November 6, 2011, 10:34 am

Happy

Seriously! I’ve learned so much from you I can’t even retain it all…omg! And I’m a very smart and communicative person! AGH! Erik keep drumming it into our head here! Last night after reading this I wrote a loving and thoughtful short note explaining to my “about to be a 1x a week” guy that I love him as a man but just can’t do it. I love myself more than him. It was so easy and freeing! Thank you! You are not just educated but intuitively knowledgeable and hugely talented in this area of men and women and relationships, beyond anyone I ever read! xoxo So grateful to you, don’t stop teaching!

November 6, 2011, 1:29 pm

Matilda

Also, you say you “know” she’s not hooking up with other guys, but unless you’ve discussed the issue, she may very well be. I’ve know women who have been through “phases” after breaking up a relationship or marriage who did in fact hook up with all kinds of guys in various ways, with a “main” guy serving as the one who they are really hooked on. The guy thinks she would never ever hook up with another guy because of how into him she seems. And some of these women were absolute geniuses at hiding their involvement with the other men.

You don’t find out about these kinds of things without really talking about what you both want out of your involvement.

Reply October 2, 2011, 8:28 pm

Eric Charles

This I agree with. You have to communicate. If I did or didn’t want something in my relationship, I would talk about it once the groundwork was laid.

Reply October 2, 2011, 8:52 pm

Matilda

Not sure why I keep commenting, other than I think it’s important to clearly label what you say is true of many men; and what you seem to be saying is true of many men is that they like to keep women in a sweet spot so that the sex and companionship can continue without real intimacy. There is no question that this kind of sweet spot relationship is based on deceit or some form of dishonesty.

No one is playing a victim card here. For the most part, men and women are good and for I’ve found that men are eager to make me happy and don’t try to do anything but their honest best.

You article advocates that men like a “sweet spot,” which, the way you describe it, occurs after the couple has been in a sexual relationship for a while. This is not out of the gate. So I don’t see your argument about “Comes off as insecure if you start trying to define everything straight out the gate.” I do agree — in the earliest stages it’s not useful or helpful to talk about things. But once the sex starts, you’ve got to start talking.

Reply October 2, 2011, 8:07 pm

Eric Charles

OK – I think we mostly agree.
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The only point that I don’t agree on is the deceit and dishonesty part. The reason I’m making a point of clarifying this is because there are thousands of ways to look at a situation, but when a person takes on a viewpoint that the other person took advantage of them or deceived them, their wall goes up, they go on the defensive and the ability for either side to communicate becomes impossible.
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I’m not saying that men and women don’t deceive one another. Some do. But the majority are good.
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To the bigger point, this article in no way suggests or advocates that men are willfully deceiving, tricking or taking advantage of women.
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It’s simple: Boy meets girl. They’re attracted to one another. They hook up and everyone seems cool with it.
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They see each other once and a while and hook up. Nobody makes a big deal of it.
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They’re not frequently texting or calling each other. They just booty call on some weekends and that’s that.
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To a guy, he’s cool with that arrangement. He’s looking at it as nothing more than what it is… an occasional hook-up with a cool girl.
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It’s not some diabolical plot to string her along. It’s not some evil manipulative plan to take advantage of her and hold back what she REALLY wants.
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Now, if a dude knew a girl was super into him and then he started hooking up with her, and hinting that there might someday be a chance at a relationship when he full on knows there’s no chance… that’s manipulative and done with intention.
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But this sweet-spot thing that I’m describing that you’re INSISTING is manipulative and wrong. Well… it isn’t. It’s simply what a guy would call: a booty call girl, a cool girl to hook-up with without drama or … no-strings attached sex.
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If a guy knew he was hurting a girl or somehow stringing her along, the vast majority guys who not do that. I wouldn’t.
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But to call something manipulative or wrong, you are implying that the guy has full knowledge of the destructive impact he’s having on a girl and doing it anyway for his greedy benefit.
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And I’m sorry… that’s not reality.

Reply October 2, 2011, 8:51 pm

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

Eric,
Nobody said that ‘waiting’ was a magical point-scoring technique, but it certainly is the safer option then rushing head-first into a physical relationship with a man who hasn’t proved his ability to love and commit to the woman he is dating. You mention ‘sexual liberation’, yet casual sex is not ‘liberation at all, especially not for a woman. Feminism paved the way for equal rights at work, but it doesn’t quite work the same on a sexual feont. This crusade/charade of ‘sexual liberation’ was based on a lie — that women want the same thing from sex as men, that to be men’s equals, women must approach sex as cavalierly as men do.

The truth of the matter is women and women operate from an entirely different biological and emotional imprint and needsmap. And any woman who claims to be different is lying to herself, first and foremost. Most women yearn to find a man who will respect and love them forever, while most men just want to have fun, so long as they can find a willing partner.

Sexual liberation is perversely trapping women in destructive cycles of short-term and dispensible relationships, while intimacy is become something elusive, insubstantial, disappointing and surreal, more often than not leading to frustration, confusion, feelings of abandonment, anger, depression – even suicide. Not to mention stds, unplanned pregnancies and a general sense of despair.

Next time you mention ‘sexual liberation’, Eric, realise that it is all a bit of a myth. Of course, the following of such a trendy institution has perks for a single man playing the field like yourself. But shows total disregard for the female psyche and emotional workings. From any vulnerable woman’s perspective that their only form of liberation is in fact abstinence…until in a secure, established, loving and committed relationship that they deserve.

Reply October 2, 2011, 6:59 pm

Eric Charles

I agree men and women are different psychologically and biologically.
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And yeah, sex is a risk.
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All I’m saying is that a woman shouldn’t have to feel shame from whatever sexual choice she wants to make for herself – it doesn’t equate to not having self-respect or respect for her body.
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Every action has consequences and a woman should be realistic about how sex affects her. Not every woman is the same – you’re suggesting that if a woman doesn’t act in accordance to your laws and ideas that she’s lying to herself.
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That would be like a guy writing that every guy loves sports. It’s in his DNA and if he says he doesn’t like sports he’s lying.
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I could not care less about sports. There are few things more boring to me than watching sports.
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But the majority of guys… they like sports.
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And I’ve known plenty of mature, intelligent, fulfilled and completely content women who are totally happy dating around and not looking for a relationship at the moment. Some in their 20s, some in their 30s, some in their 40s.
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Yes, I’m aware of the biological differences. But when I write my column, I’m careful to not impose my values or morals on other people. Not every woman wants the same things for herself or relationship life.
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The grand majority of women want a relationship with a special person. And believe it or not, the majority of men do to (I regularly survey thousands of women and men, so… I have the data.)
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You are well-spoken but you have to be careful where your opinion and morality sneak it.
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I’ve written my perspective to women who are carrying on an affair with another man. Sure, I point out the obvious and inevitable flaws, but I don’t judge it moralistically or tell her what she “should” do.
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People need to learn their lessons. Perspective is helpful. But nobody is looking for a person on the internet to tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing unless they are asking for a moral opinion…
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Just saying.

Reply October 2, 2011, 7:42 pm

Eric Charles

To tie up my point: Look at the latest comment on this article.
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http://www.anewmode.com/dating-relationships/committed-booty-call/#comment
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Different strokes for different folks – not every woman NEEDS to yearn to be in a relationship with a guy biologically. Perspective and life experience has lots of influence over how a woman’s biological reactions are going to be processed.

Reply October 2, 2011, 11:27 pm

Matilda

Eric,

You say guys just understand this? No way. I have had men “understand” or simply assume a whole bunch of things that weren’t true — that I was their girlfriend, that I wasn’t their girlfriend, that I was rejecting them when I wasn’t, that I wasn’t rejecting them when I was, that I was dating other guys, that I wasn’t dating other guys, that I’d spend the holidays with them, that I wouldn’t spend the holidays with them and on and on and on.

This gets back to communication. Men and women should just be honest and open — if the relationship or dating situation or sweet spot falls apart, that’s the natural order of things. But you can’t conceal or withhold or simply “understand” something without talking to the other person first.

Your comment underscores my point: “Any man who’s been in at least one relationship knows to NEVER bring up a problem to a woman. NEVER.” (Also, what happened to not making generalizations about either sex.) You’re admitting that she would have a problem with being in the “sweet spot” and therefore he’s not going to say anything. That’s lying, deceiving and being manipulative.

And, btw, who knows whether she’ll perceive a problem — she might be relieved or on the same page. I had a relationship where the guy just simply couldn’t cope with a girlfriend (career and child problems) and I didn’t see him as a long term relationship for a number of reasons, but for a while it was good and we both knew where we stood. And we were honest, not trying to twist something around.

Wish more people could just talk to each other instead of playing games.

Reply October 2, 2011, 6:19 pm

Eric Charles

Yeah – I know. I wasn’t disagreeing with anything you were saying… that’s why it underscored your point.
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My point was that you need a little time to lay the groundwork first before you start talking about this sort of thing. Comes off as insecure if you start trying to define everything straight out the gate.
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As for the whole lying / manipulation thing you’re fixating on…
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Look. If you want to believe that men out there want to lie to you and cheat you, the world will happily fulfill that prophecy for you. And you will get your fill of it.
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But it’s not the case. It’s the viewpoint you’ve chosen to take on.
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People usually aren’t playing games. You are just being emotional and taking things personally instead of rationally handling your dating situation.
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If you want to want to play the victim card, go for it. But I’m warning you… it doesn’t lead to a good place.
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I’m just calling it like I see it. this is an opinion column. It’s just my opinion – you’re free to disagree. But I am trying to help – I don’t sugarcoat, but I am trying to be helpful.

Reply October 2, 2011, 7:50 pm

Matilda

Eric, if guys say to themselves “let’s see where this goes,” they should say it to the woman too. That’s openness and honesty and would be a legitimate beginning for a meaningful discussion with most women.

But what you’re talking about is holding on to some kind of sweet spot. At that point, the guy knows he doesn’t want her for a girlfriend, but isn’t being open and honest about that. That’s manipulation. He should come out and say — “I like seeing you and sleeping with you and would like to continue to do so but I don’t see a relationship forming. Are you good with that?”

Instead, he’s consciously trying to keep the sex and once-a-week companionship going without making her bolt. That’s manipulative.

Reply October 2, 2011, 4:49 pm

Eric Charles

Men assume that it’s understood. We don’t need to talk about it – to use it would be stating what we think is obvious.
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We think one step at a time. How many guys do you know who love the phrase “it is what it is”? (Me being one of those guys.)
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The relationship is what it is. We don’t conjure up deep meanings and code-messages and scrupulously analyze every word, gesture and action in a relationship.
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We take it as it comes and if there’s no drama at that moment, we’re completely content with it being exactly as it is…. forever.
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As for what you’re saying… it’s not manipulative. It’s a guy acting with consideration for her feelings. He’s not being dishonest. He’s not doing anything wrong, in fact.
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When it comes to men, the answer is in his actions. Why in the world would a guy have a conversation and create a problem when there is none?
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Any man who’s been in at least one relationship knows to NEVER bring up a problem to a woman. NEVER.
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You assume that the guy knows what’s going on in your head and the feelings you’ve developed. He doesn’t. No man is a mind reader.
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If you develop feelings for a guy you’re hooking up with, talk about it. Most guys (if they haven’t already clearly “answered” with their actions) will be honest with you.
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Yes = Yes
Vague answer = It’s not the answer you want to hear, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.
No = No
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Damn… I should sell that. The guy-speak decoder system. :)

Reply October 2, 2011, 5:59 pm

Joanne

Yes!! Please Eric do write a male decoder!!! It would be sooooo helpful! :)

The “sweet spot” to me basically means, “you are good enough to f*ck, but not good enough to love.”

:S Harsh.

Reply November 14, 2011, 11:41 pm

Happy

YES yes yes Joanne have I been there! OMG yeah. Seriously sucks! You think you can do it..behave like a guy would just doing that, just sex once a week and nothing more, but NO. Its really depressing. Not good. You really end up feeling like a prostitute, seriously, no matter how hard you try not to. Never going there again!!! AGH NEVER I SAY! Better to be alone for sure. :/ I never met one woman who could handle that and not come out of it damaged. Sorry to be a downer! Yikes!

Reply November 14, 2011, 11:58 pm

Joanne

:S Ya, learned that lesson the hard way too. It blows rotten goats. I called it off, but it doesn’t stop it from hurting. I suppose eventually, time will heal. I want someone who loves me for my skills inside AND outside the bedroom. Someone who isn’t scared off by the fact that they are beginning to care/love me. FWB’s are messy cuz someone always falls for the other one. Whether it is the girl or the guy. It definitely is hard.

November 15, 2011, 12:25 am

I_love_Audrey_Hepburn

I think that most relationship experts who have written a lot of excelllent books all seem to agree that if a man isn’t showing signs of wanting to reach a place of committment by two-three months of dating, chances are he usually isn’t going to go there at all.

I think like with all relationships, time is needed to get to know one another, but men tend to get an inkling pretty early on as to a.) Whether she is relationship material to him, and b.) Whether he is in a space ready to take on a relationship, and if both a.). And b.). don’t fall into place it soon becomes pretty evident by his actions. I think the best advice women should take is not to sleep with any man early on in the piece, to avoid confusion and to garner information about the man’s motivations before taking such a step. A REAL, genuine man WILL wait for you (despite anything you say contrary, Eric ;-) ). How long to wait? Dependent on circumstances, religious beliefs etc., but overrall when the women feels a strong emotional connection, feels comfortable with the idea and is getting genuine signs of committment-longing from a man. Otherwise, who needs it?? Seriously, a man will get away with what he can from a physical perspective, if women draw the line in the sand with their own value of themselves they are less likely to enter into.cagey agendas and circles of stasis ‘nowhere’ ploys with men. The more women learn to respect their bodies and values, the more men will learn to catch up with those values. We are living in a society where sex is as easy to obtain as a cup of coffee, is it any given wonder that modern day men are all acting like committment-phobic cads when the ultimate conquest marker is offered before the race has even started? Self-respect before sex, and you will find a quality man that is willing to follow suit.

Reply October 2, 2011, 4:14 pm

Eric Charles

I agree with some of it, but disagree with some of this too.
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The idea of “waiting” like it’s going to create some magical scenario to take place is a misconception.
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Waiting is not going to make a difference if the girl:
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- doesn’t know herself
- doesn’t know how to read men well
- doesn’t trust her instincts
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If she doesn’t have those things in place, it won’t make a difference whether she sleeps with him immediately or 10 dates in.
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I’m pointing this out not because I’m a guy who hooked up with every one of my long term girlfriends early on, but because you’re proclaiming this and it’s incorrect.
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If a girl doesn’t feel sure that sleeping with a guy is a good idea, then I agree, she shouldn’t do it. But if she knows herself, trusts her feminine instincts and is confident that she and the guy are on the same page, then the amount of time when she chooses to sleep with him is a non-issue.
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A woman shouldn’t sleep with a guy if she isn’t sure it’s a good idea. Period. But proclaiming that there’s a magic time to wait… or that waiting somehow scores you points with a guy… or that waiting somehow ups your odds…
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It doesn’t… it never has, never will. It’s good communication that makes the difference and being on the same page.
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Now, I do agree that a woman should be garnering information and making sure she and he are on the same page.
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And I do agree that after 2-3 months the guy definitely figured out whehter or not she’s relationship material (I’d say by the third or fourth time you’ve hung out any guy will pretty definitely have his mind set.)
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And a girl definitely shouldn’t have sex with a guy if she’s doing it because she thinks it’s the only way she’ll keep his interest. That would be a disastrous decision on her part.
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But there’s way to much “shaming” in our society around sex.
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So what if sex is readily available to men. That’s great. Thank you feminism (not that I’m a fan/not a fan of feminism, but women fought HARD to live in an age where they could have sex freely when they wanted and with who they wanted).
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If a woman wants to have sex with a guy, she should feel good about wanting it and good about the whole experience. Your comment is subliminally suggesting that if she wants to have sex and it doesn’t measure up to your values that she is “disrespecting” her body.
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I think that’s a very damaging, shaming and old-fashioned point of view that society needs to get past (not just you).
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Again, I agree with pieces of your comment, but some of it I don’t. Always appreciate your thoughts though.

Reply October 2, 2011, 5:51 pm

Katarina Phang

You’re so spot on. It’s doing women disservice to keep telling them this myth that they have no control over their emotions after sex. Women have much more power than that if only they knew it. We are that powerful.

The difference is mature vs. immature women, mentally stable vs. unstable women.

Reply October 6, 2012, 1:15 am

Matilda

Ladies,

This is why1) open, honest discussion is crucial to a relationship — and to life in general, for that matter. Here’s what Eric is saying: guy meets girl. They date, start to have sex, continue to have sex at the guy’s modulated rate (i.e. he’s intentionally regulating the intimacy of the relationship, which is kind of cruel because he’s doing this precisely because he knows she probably will want more) and the girl starts to fall in love. At that point, they have had no honest discussions with each other about what each one is looking for in the relationship. He pulls away because she wants more; she feels used and he feels she pulled a bait and switch. Bad scene all the way around and it could have been avoid with open, honest talk.

and

2) walk away from any man who doesn’t understand the human heart and respect you enough to be upfront with you about what he is seeking.

Reply October 2, 2011, 2:59 pm

Eric Charles

#1 is very well stated. Totally agree.
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#2 is a little tricky… guys don’t typically know what they want up front. Most guys take things one step at a time. They don’t say to themselves “I’m going to make this woman my girlfriend” or “I’m going to hook up with this girl and I never date her as a girlfriend.”
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Guys typically say to themselves, “This girl is cool / sexy / attractive / fun / whatever. Let’s see where this goes.”
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One step at a time. Women, especially women who have felt burned by a previous relationship, make the mistake of assuming that the guy had some kind of dastardly motive and greedy, evil intent.
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I’m not saying there aren’t crappy people out there (guys or girls), but I am saying that the majority of men have good intentions. Sometimes a dude gives a girl a shot and… he’s just not feeling it.
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Nothing intention. It just didn’t happen for him.
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But it’s not because he had this evil intent to greedily use her and discard her. He just didn’t feel the magic – can’t fake that.
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The important thing for women and men is to never fall into the trap of thinking that the opposite sex is “bad”. That’s a nasty self-fulfilling prophecy and leads to a terrible place. Best to avoid that mindset altogether.

Reply October 2, 2011, 3:35 pm

Jen

This is my situation exactly!! I finally get it! I love your site it has it has been a great decoder for my relationships! I know how you are going to answer, but I have to ask it anyways…I expressed to a guy I was interested in taking the next step in our (she’s not interested in hooking up with other guys, we see each other regularly enough (one a week or so) and when we’re together it’s nice, but there’s no feeling of exclusivity or dependency) relationship and he did exactly as you said..removed himself considerably from my life. He has expressed that he is starting a new career and is not in the head space to start a new relationship, but that I am exactly what he is looking for , I am perfect, his friends say he should marry me…Blah…Blah …Blah…I hear from him about every two weeks now…that he needs and wants to see me, he misses me, that we can make this better, that he chooses me and this is his answer ( to my relationship question) but, there is never any follow through. So my question to you is this, is he really struggling with letting me go or is he just feeding me enough hoping it will keep me around. And how likely is it that he will step up or am I wasting my time still thinking about him?

Reply September 19, 2011, 1:55 pm

Yoie

Exactly! I am in that now so I know… It is important to understand why someone feels the way they do. If they were married for a long time and recently divorced you need to understand their need for independence. I think we can all relate to that need after divorce. In such cases you need to let them have the space to breath and live life. I have learned so much from this site and the emails received and I want to thank you for making the difference as I really did not understand until now.

Reply September 18, 2011, 1:15 pm

Alice

Hi Eric, I was wondering if you could help me out.

I’m in that kind of relationship with a guy where we’re in that ‘sweet spot’. It first started with him having a girlfriend (I know, I know, I’m terrible), but now that he doesn’t have one anymore, we’re still not together. Surprise surprise. Now he’s never said that he wouldn’t date me(which I wish he would), he just says that he really wants to actually be my friend for real. I suppose he’s achieved that ‘stasis’ you mentioned in another answer of yours, but here I am, having fallen for the guy when I didn’t plan to. Just like it allllllllways happens.
Granted I understand the situation quite plainly, at least when I don’t let my womenly senses tingle and take over – which has kind of messed up our ‘relationship’ by making me seem like some emotional mess that breaks down and not the ‘awesome’ chick he thought I was.
We’ve had a few debacles where I’ve gotten emotional in the moment and made him feel like a terrible guy or what not for what he ‘did to me’, when (while I’m clearheaded again,) let’s be real ladies: we know what we got ourselves into when we first started hooking up! Can’t always just blame the guy!
Anyway, what I’m trying to figure out is, well, what should I do? I like the guy, I do want to be in a relationship with him. The reason he cheated on his girlfriend is because she wasn’t even bothering with him anymore and he wanted to be with her so badly but he gave up. Not that anything really justifies cheating, but I “understand” why he cheated, all motives aside. So I already know there’d be a high risk of him cheating if he was with me, but I also know that if I had just kept my eye on him he’d behave haha.
Oh boy this is getting long! Anyway, I don’t know how to get him to see me as more than a friend, but I’d really like to – even if it’s a long shot. You mentioned that these things take one or two turns: they stop, or they fall in love. Even if it’s just destiny’s choice or up to fate, do you have any tips or advice for me at all to get him to see me in a different light? Anything at all? Because we have a really dynamic friendship as of right now and he LOVES me as a friend. We do lots of things together and our conversations can last for hours about the most obscure things. I was also there for him while his girlfriend was being a dick to him and he really values me for that. I know he’s never had a friend like me before who actually understands him, despite him being extremely popular. (I think that makes me the ‘crutch’ or something right?)
He’s mentioned endlessly that he needs to keep me as a friend and he admires my brutal honesty and he knows he’s been a complete jerk to me so he needs to change, and recently after my last ‘WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME’, he finally decided we can’t hook up anymore and even rejected my drunk bootycall and said I’d thank him in the long run! But he still acts so flirty towards me now, which makes me feel like I’m not completely friendzoned. Is he testing me? Wow after typing this out I sound super dumb don’t I.
Anyway, I guess what I want to know is, how should I play this out? So that it would work out in my favor, whatever the outcome may be. Whether we end up together, or not. I’m just tired of this yo-yoing. What should I do? Please help/respond :( anybody

Reply September 12, 2011, 6:22 am

Cass

I understand totally that guys do that, and want the “sweet spot” but do they have any idea or care about how the girl feels? The woman is another person with feelings etc and the sweet spot cant be maintained just because the guys wants it so, its sounds very selfish that guys do that. Its not fair and hurtful for the woman who keeps thinking he wants more and then backs away…how mean, it would make alot of women frustrated and upset, because they arent told about this “sweet spot” by the guy, they are just expected to be controlled by what the guy is wanting! Mean and selfish, be honest from the start!!!

Reply August 19, 2011, 11:52 pm

Eric Charles

Sure – most guys DO care. The majority of people on this planet are caring and would not intentionally hurt someone else.
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Problem is… women tend to form different feelings than guys do for different reasons.
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For a guy, the sweet spot doesn’t feel like a sweet spot. In the guy’s head, he’s thinking, “FINALLY. I can have an easy, casual, sexual relationship without it getting complicated or having to deal with all the turmoil, hassles and annoyances of being in a relationship. This girl rocks.”
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Then, when the woman starts expressing how she feels and that she’s upset, he thinks, “What did I get myself into? What was I thinking?!?!”
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Ahh, the life cycle of a fling.
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It’s not that the guy is selfish, mean or dishonest. He’s honestly being himself… he wanted a hook-up, no-strings attached kind of relationship. The girl starts out being down for it, then at some point switches (or at least, that’s how it looks from the guy’s point of view).
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In fact, the guy could argue that the girl was dishonest and selfish. He started out having the impression that the “relationship” they started out with was something she’s cool with.
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Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she switches and starts wanting to change everything – he was happy with how it was before… in fact, he was in that type of relationship BECAUSE it was what he wanted. He feels like a “bait and switch” got pulled on him.
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People generally won’t know what you’re thinking or feeling unless you can calmly and rationally explain it to them. And even then, they still might not get it.
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My only point here is that you can’t assume a guy has bad intentions – he probably just has no idea what you’re thinking / feeling.

Reply September 3, 2011, 9:47 am

andrea

Hey, I’m probably going to get blasted by yhte ladies with this one but, I LOVE that sweet spot! I am a busy woman and have no time for serious relationship. Here is the problem, how do I get the guy into that spot without making it to easy so he feels a slight challenge so he’s intrigued and excited! I don’t want to seem to easy as being the other party who wants to continue with “statis” there is work for me to do to. Keeping him hungry for more! Which is the fun part for me. Here is my specific situation, there’s a guy who I would like to be in this type of situation with, I intimidate him though, I need to know how to make him comfortable enough to lead us to this spot. I know I’m weird! Lol any suggestions?

Reply July 22, 2011, 10:12 am

bri

okay I understand what your saying but my situation is a little different.
My ex say he wants me back and were going to get back together but he needs time. Im like why does this need to be thought about if I’m what you want?? Yes, Im very impatient because im a little scared he will change his mind. I hope i didn’t guilt him into believing he wants a relationship with me, and he doesn’t . I have backed off before and given him his space ,and it worked . When I say it worked ,I mean he shows a lot of interest in me.I dont know what to do. I love him, but when will this waiting game be over?

Reply July 20, 2011, 12:19 am

Eric Charles

Sure. But she’d have to be one hell of a woman. ;)

Reply July 5, 2011, 6:41 pm

Chrysanthemum

And you would have to be one hell of a man. ;)

Reply September 2, 2011, 6:47 pm

Eric Charles

(Brushes shoulder off.)
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Kidding. :)

Reply September 2, 2011, 7:27 pm

Cass

well that all well and good Eric, but guys really need to make sure they make it clear they dont want it to turn into a relationship! I have noticed that some have a way of acting like they want one, just so they get the casual sex! A not-relationship os goos so long as the female knows its a NOT!

Reply September 2, 2011, 11:49 pm

Cass

is good*

September 2, 2011, 11:49 pm

Eric Charles

That depends.
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On the one hand, if I guy straight up told a girl that he wants a relationship with her (when he really doesn’t) just to get casual sex, then I think that’s wrong and despicable behavior.
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On the other hand, if a guy shows his attraction towards a girl and is generally kind and affectionate, that is NOT him saying he wants a relationship.
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When a guy wants a relationship, he’ll straight up say it. Not necessarily immediately, but it will be clear.
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There have been times where I’m kind, affectionate and hooking up with a girl, but I’m not looking to be in a long term relationship with her. But she’s had a different interpretation and resents me for “making her think I wanted a relationship.”
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To which I say (in the way that guys do), “I never said ‘I want a relationship’ with you.”
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This might sound overly simplistic, but when the relationship is meant to happen, it’s pretty obvious – no guesswork or interpretation needed.

September 3, 2011, 9:37 am

I_Love_Audrey_Hepburn

Leah, a very excellent point. I think when it gets to the point where ‘exclusivity’ is not on the agenda of the guy, the woman may aswell cut her losses and date other people. As Eric has mentioned in another article, match his committment level. If he’s willing to allow you to go confused through lack of contact, be the same. If he’s willing to date other people and leave you hanging, it’s perfectly justifiable for you to do the same. But my biggest suggestion in this scenario, is don’t bother with him, because he’s clearly not ‘that into you’!

This ‘stasis’ scenario that Eric mentions is all too common a one, but seriously, it is not an honest situation at all. Most women don’t bother dating unless they think it is leading to something more serious, or ‘going somewhere’. I don’t know too many women who would be comfortable of seeing somebody once a week for company and sex and it still not going anywhere after 6months! Who does that??? It’s dishonest on part of a guy to behave that way, and he should tell her upfront he doesn’t want a relationship, period. That way, she has a choice to get out and find somebody else. I am not really sure why guys would think stringing a girl along is a situation that should never come to some sort of repercussion. Baffles belief.

Reply July 3, 2011, 3:14 pm

Eric Charles

This may sound funny for me to say as the relationship columnist, but…
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If a guy wants a relationship with you… you won’t have any confusion that he does. But some guys need more time than others, so it’s important not to draw conclusions too quickly.
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But hell… I’m happily single right now and if I met a hot girl who was down to hookup once a week I would be down for that and I’d have no intention of ending it unless it stopped being enjoyable for me.
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And I wouldn’t need it to become anything more. So one of two things would happen: a) it would go on for as long as it goes on and then it ends, or b) she inspires me to love her and we fall deeply in love and make babies.
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I’m more in the a) headspace at the moment – some girls will be down, others won’t. Someday I want a wife and kids, but not today…
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So there are some candid thoughts straight up from “the guy”… take it with a grain of salt, but when you get down to it, sometimes the relationship component has everything to do with the guy’s head space and it’ll be as it is. Better to move on and not take it personally…
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Plus… a not-relationship can be healthy and rewarding too. You only live once, after all.

Reply July 3, 2011, 5:12 pm

elizabeth

eric- do you feel that would all change if you met the right woman?

Reply July 5, 2011, 11:58 am

Lynn

met this guy last summer during a summer school session i took.
he would always look at me in class and i caught his glance,
and the day we actually started talking, he asked for my # so i wrote it on
paper, and later that night he texted me, asnd it was a really nice conversation,
until after an hour of talking, he called me and we talked for about 30 minutes.
i think we just clicked..
we talked everday and it was obvious that we were really compatible,
but after summer school ended, he didnt text or call me as much,
i was guessing it was because he didnt see me everday anymore..
so a few weeks after we just lost touch.i still thought about him from time to time but was way too scared to contact him, until about a month ago i just texted him one day, asking how he was, and then it went on from there, then all of a sudden he sends me a random, and weird text..asking for $20…..haha, i knew this guy was in a gang so i thought it was some kind of trouble he was in and it could have been a death situation..crazy..my guess was right.so the same day he came to see me and we hung out for a little bit before he had to hurry and leave, being around him again made me feel that warm familiar sensation in my chest from back when we just met.and then the next morning he texts me saying how much he appreciates what i did for him,and that most ppl wouldnt care.after that we didn’t text for a few days then i texted him and he found stuff out about me that he didnt know before, which made him more interested, talking to me more and replying faster…we made plans to see each other over the weekend last week, but something came up with him and it was cancelled, and we havn’t talked since then..last Sunday…so anyway i want to talk to him again and see when we can hang out but its happening all over again, i get scared..i know how guys are..and theres silence again unless he decides to text me one day..but im tired of waiting for that..what im trying to say by all of this is..maybe we’re going” too” slow??…because its obvious we have strong chemistry, its almost been a year, i’ve dated other people, but ive never felt as comfortable with someone until he came along…i just don’t want there to be a “could have been”.but at the same time, i cant have him mistaken, thinking im “needy”..any advice?

Reply May 11, 2011, 2:16 pm

Leah

Joy–if you’re asking the question, then you’re not “the one.” Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that’s just how it is.

Reply May 11, 2011, 12:34 pm

Joy

How long is too long to wait for someone to realize your the one? Because seriously after a while you feel like a fool even though you love that person!

Reply May 11, 2011, 12:12 pm

Leah

Ashley makes a good point in that it IS a form of manipulation, giving the appearance of being willing to further the relationship only to try to pin a girl back to the position she was pulling out of. But I think that Eric is correct in that this is the way the game is played, fair or not. So do you want to be pinned? Frankly, if you keep letting the guy play you like a yoyo, then nothing is going to change. He’s getting what he wants, he’s happy. I’ve been the yoyo, and I freely admit I allowed that to happen, justifying in my own head that he’ll come around, this time is different, whatever worked for my ego at the time. But over time I’ve learned that if you just have enough willpower to stop being the yoyo, that leaves your guy with two options: commit or let you go. This doesn’t mean that you have to leave the relationship, but you do have to remember that it’s not exclusive…. and not be exclusive. Note what Eric said about being comfortable in knowing that “she’s not interested in hooking up with other guys.” NEVER tell a guy who isn’t willing to commit that you’re exclusive to him. Why would you give him that? Ok, ok, I’ll admit that I have BEEN exclusive, but if asked, I’ll simply tell him that it’s not really his business and smile. And then there have been times where I haven’t been exclusive! You do have to know in your mind how long you’ll give it before you cut bait, and when it’s time, it’s time. No yoyo.

You’d be surprised how often a man will look at that void and go, “Wow, I need to get that back,” and take the steps necessary to make that happen. And the ones that let you go? well, they were going to do that anyway.

Reply May 6, 2011, 11:44 am

Ashley

Honestly, isn’t trying to keep a relationship in “stasis” when its clear that the other person wants more, somewhat manipulative? I see no concern for what the other party wants or how they feel. Only that you like the “sweet spot of comfortable company and sexual satisfaction without having to tie myself down to any relationship” so its okay to play pursuit games to keep it there without any honest disclosure.

Basically you just said “I want to keep having sex and hanging out, but you’re not worth a relationship, so I’m going to play with your head to keep you here.” Wouldn’t being honest that you don’t see it going anywhere be the more mature thing to do instead of leading someone on?

I’m sorry, but its very difficult to reconcile this attitude to anything resembling maturity or emotional responsiblity.

I truly would like to understand as i think otherwise every article i’ve read here has been excellent.

Reply May 6, 2011, 10:50 am

Jen

Ashley, I COMPLETELY agree with you on this point. I’m a firm believer in actions speak louder than words, so in a way, his actions would just confuse the girl even more. Sometimes you have to back your words with your actions as well. Very good observation to bring up on this.

Reply June 25, 2011, 2:58 pm

Katie

Nicely put Eric, this is exactly what i wanted to know. Good to have you to put cross a man’s perspective!

but one more question that just popped up in my head – does a guy ever need to get into the mode of ‘wanting a relationship’ first before he would consider committing to anyone?

I mean, from a girl’s point of view, we constantly like the idea of falling in love and going into a stable & loving relationship, maybe that’s the gene in women, but i thought that all human being are the same on that basis? aint we all longing for that stability and trust that you can have in another human being apart from your family? Is it not the case for men?

I just thought that it’s irrelevant either you are ready for a relationship or not, when you fall in love with someone, you just don’t want to be apart from her/him, you would not like the idea of losing her/him to anyone else… if it’s someone you can bear to be apart from, then i guess she is just not your girl. that’s why love only happens when you least expect it, right?

Reply May 6, 2011, 10:45 am

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