Photo by Max Ducourneau on Unsplash
I know many, many attractive, smart, funny women who have their shit together and are very successful. However, many of them lack only one thing, a love life. They just can?t seem to meet the right guy and/or sustain a relationship for very long.
Because people are so individual it would seem like you couldn?t possibly assume all of these women were struggling with the same problem in their love lives. But after speaking with many of them, I realized that not all of them, but a significant number of them were actually dealing with very similar issues in their dating histories.
These women were all trying to take ?The Lead? in their romantic relationships. By taking The Lead, I mean they were playing the role of pursuer by asking men out, calling them, etc. Honestly, I don?t blame them. This is the 21st century. If you are a strong capable adult who knows what (and/or who) you want why not pursue him?
Unsplash Jon Toney
Yes, The Rules are Old
Unfortunately though, in the dating scene, we are still stuck back in the archaic stone age. Men still have the need to be hunters or like the challenge of ?The Chase.? This isn?t bashing men at all. It just is what it is. I am sure that this will cause some accusations about not empowering women and/or being anti-women.
Let me assure you, I am a card-carrying member of NOW and an active supporter of equality and diversity in all sections of life. But the institution of dating is not and still follows many of the old fashioned protocols.
Would I like to see dating roles updated to 21st-century standards? Of course!
But unfortunately, for now, in order to navigate today?s dating scene and meet someone, we must remember the prehistoric systems that come into play. For instance, the man should be the pursuer of the relationship.
Why? Because some of the biggest problems I hear women complain about is, ?Is he seriously interested in me?? ?Does he want a relationship?? ?Why hasn?t he called me?? ?Am I wasting my time with him?? ?Is this just a hook-up??
Even the most confident of women don?t like to wait around to see if a relationship is worth their time. We want definitive proof he is ?into us.? I mean, it?s the 21st century, right? Why should we have to wait and worry if he will call? So we pursue him to see if he will go along. Unfortunately for everyone, dating doesn?t follow 2019 protocols.
They are Old Rules, But Sometimes They Work
But all those questions can be easily answered without immediately making plans with him for the next several dates, but only if you let him take the lead.
Most men aren?t going to communicate their deepest feelings on the first few dates. They don?t have it all figured out either. So if a woman at the end of a first date, asks him out for a second date, he will usually just say yes because he feels pressured or doesn?t want to hurt your feelings, not because he is imagining you in your wedding dress walking toward him.
Most men aren?t monsters who go around wanting to hurt other people. They all mostly, want to be seen as good guys with only the best intentions, so they go along and follow your lead. Sometimes, if a woman continues to ask, call him and take the lead, a man will just go along for weeks or for several dates even if he doesn?t really see a long-lasting relationship in the future with the asker. Other times, he may be spending time with a person because he likes the way they treat him.
Until he finds someone else that he wants to pursue or something more interesting to do. Usually, after he does, he just stops answering the Pursuer?s calls and unfortunately, breaks her heart because she thought the relationship was going somewhere.
?We have been out five or six times. He was so attentive and always ready to go out when I called him and now he won?t even answer my texts. I don?t understand what I did wrong.?
The Pursuer obsesses over every date and all their time together in her head wondering what SHE did wrong. She calls him because she just wants answers but he doesn?t respond. It is a horrible feeling and can cause you to question your self-esteem and worth.
The truth is she didn?t do anything wrong except take the lead in the relationship. She never let his actions show how invested or interested he was in their connection. Remember the old line, ?Actions speak louder than words?? Nowhere does this wisdom ring truer than in the dating realm. But if you do not allow him to initiate action, you have nothing to observe.
For example, if she had let him do the calling, she would know for sure that he wanted to speak with her because he did the calling. Rather than just being not busy enough to answer the phone when she called.
If she would have let him ask her out on a second date, she would know for sure that he was interested in seeing her again because he initiated the action. Instead of putting him on the spot at the end of their first date.
She didn?t let him think about how to impress her or wonder if she was interested in him. She was an easy catch, an open book. He had no doubt she was interested because she asked him on a second date. There was no challenge for him. A little mystery goes a long way when getting to know someone. It increases the tension and ups the anti, as they say.
Rori Raye, of EHarmony.com, writes, ?I know how frustrating it is to sit back and let a man take the lead. We want a man to know we?re interested in him. We want to make it easy for him to ask us out again. We want to seem enthusiastic and easygoing. And often times this means we inadvertently chase him in the ways described above.
It?s true that most men need validation as much as we do. But there?s a difference between letting a man know you like him and subtly chasing him. When you chase a man, you don?t give him the chance to show you how he really feels about you. And my experience has shown that the only way to really be sure of where his heart is at is by creating the space he needs to pursue you.
Once again, we are dealing with Stone Age ideas. Most men like to be the pursuer. These guys love a challenge and to be the hunter in a new relationship but our need for concrete answers so quickly didn?t allow him to do that.
It may be frustrating to wait but good things take time. Relationships should not be rushed or controlled. They should be easy and progress a little at a time. That is what creates the romance, the wondering and waiting. Sometimes the feelings of desire are better than the actual feelings you have when you receive what you want.
My Grandmother (who was extremely old fashioned and had never heard of NOW) used to say, ?Dating a man is like coaxing a squirrel into your hand. No sudden movements!!!? In other words, let him take the lead and make something happen. Then you are (mostly) certain of his intentions and have a more realistic view of where your relationship is going.
Obviously, this subject can be argued and those who say to hell with the old rules are sometimes absolutely correct. We can also go much deeper by asking if we should leave all archaic gender roles behind, and I believe there are some very good arguments as to why we should.
But for the sake of a few dates and getting to know someone romantically, I think that the wisdom to know when to lead and when to follow is priceless.