Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Last week I was doing a catch up session with one of my clients Katie* I had coached her through a difficult break up a few months ago and she was now dating a great guy, it was lovely to hear the happiness in her voice and how well things were going with this new man, she explained that for a month now they had steadily become inseparable, cooking for each other, watching movies or talking for hours and spending all of their free time together, she felt that this could really be it, the man she had been waiting for. She told me they connected on every level but there was one thing bothering her, that he still hadn't tried to define the relationship or talk to her about where things were going. So she had decided she was going to bring up the conversation with him that night.
She asked what I thought and I told her honestly that I didn't think it was a good idea, my reasoning was that if things were going so well it was only a matter of time before she had a clear answer and confronting him suddenly could make him feel put on the spot and disrupt the natural flow between them. Instead she should make sure she isn't neglecting other aspects of her life too much for a guy who hasn't committed yet.
Katie agreed but she also thought I was being overly cautious, she was feeling a sense of urgency as he was about to start a new job that would have him travelling a lot, she felt the need to lock things down now rather than later. She reassured me that they had a great situation and she really believed that she could talk to him about anything. She felt confident that the discussion would go well so I wished her the best of luck. Although I will always give my genuine opinion and I did offer alternative suggestions, I also believe my clients should be supported fully in their own choices and Katie seemed so upbeat that I truly hoped that she would be beaming even more the next time we spoke, sadly though I had a niggling feeling she might encounter one of two outcomes: 1 He would tell her what he thought she wanted to hear and she would get what she wanted -a commitment, but would never be quite sure if it was what he wanted Or 2 He would withdraw, make excuses and become illusive.
We had confirmed our next appointment for a week later but the following day she contacted me asking for an emergency session. She was pretty upset. She explained that she had raised the discussion with him gently expecting a warm and loving response but instead he had turned cold on her and muttered some excuses about how his life was changing a lot so he wasn't looking for a serious situation. She asked me how on earth I knew that it wouldn't go well when she had felt so certain. My answer was simple You should never have to ask a man where you stand/where things are going Male signals are very plain to see and once you understand them, very easy to interpret. Often what he doesn't say is just as important as what he does. A man who wants commitment will make it clear. He may not make a flowery speech about where you are heading but chances are he will simply introduce you to someone as his Girlfriend or find a cute and light way to raise the topic. However we are all different in terms of how soon we feel comfortable in "locking things down" and it is not a nice feeling to be rushed in to a decision like this. There are three reasons a woman may feel the need to have the talk with a guy
1. It's very early stages and she is still in the dark about his intentions 2. The situation has moved very quickly and she now feels that the commitment level doesn't match the level of attachment she feels
3. She is worried he may be dating other people In other words the need to have "the talk" comes from fear.
So, it becomes totally possible that we may jump the gun and force the guy to make a decision about our connection before he is fully ready, and it is acceptable for him to not feel ready, especially if the two of you haven't been hanging out that long. In Katie's situation it had only been a month and due to the intensity of her own feelings she may not have realised that he needed more time to meet her level of emotional investment, typically if it's before the two month mark it isn't really worth worrying about where things are heading but even beyond that point trying to have "the talk" with a guy rarely works to increase his attraction and investment.
Katie's friends were already telling her the guys reaction was unfair, that she should have been able to raise any topic with him even if it may be awkward, and although I understand her frustration completely, what should work when it comes to dating and love doesn't automatically inspire deeper devotion from men. Emotions are not logical... This doesn't mean you are powerless if you find yourself with a man that doesn't rush to commit or define the relationship, there is a much more empowering way to approach things than having serious talks or issuing ultimatums.
Things had been going extraordinarily well between Katie and her guy, they had been progressing gradually and she had been feeling confident and secure with him, the problems occurred for her when an impending external change in his life got her feeling suddenly insecure and overthinking things, in reality she had gone from feeling happy and cherished, to having an intense need for reassurance, a sudden change he probably didn't anticipate.
The problem is that many women find themselves in Katie's situation and instead of pacing the dating process, or even taking a little time out to weigh up what he is bringing to the table, they throw themselves all in, rearranging their schedule for the guy, giving him all of their spare time and allowing her own feelings to grow rapidly before things are clarified. I even had a client in this situation once who was doing the guys ironing and cleaning his house before they had defined the relationship! Her situation also suffered a disappointing fate.
A lot of women worry that if they approach things in a care free way, instead of trying to find out where she stands that the man will walk all over her or will never give her any type of solid foundation, but that isn't true at all and if you approach dating with strong self worth and deep confidence you are much more difficult to string along or even manipulate than those who base their decisions on fear. In fact if you ever feel that you need to have an "urgent" talk with a man that you are involved with about where things are going, please take some time to explore your motivations and figure out what your true needs really are, this can be much easier to do with a Coach to help you sort through things from an impartial perspective.
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Huge love to Katie* for allowing me to share her story
Jade Kelly is a Certified Life Coach and Relationship Consultant based in the UK, She has over a decade of experience in helping women to build confidence in themselves and attraction with men. You can contact us now to book a session by phone, from the comfort of your own home or on the go! Click here for more information