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, I told her straight up that no, I didn't think it was the right course of action, I have witnessed this sort of thing many times as a coach, and in my experience it rarely ends well.
I wanted Katie to stay in her happy vibes and feel confident in this mans interest, as it was probably only a matter of time before he asked her for more. Instead, she should make sure she wasn't neglecting other aspects of her life too much for a guy who hadn't committed yet.
Katie agreed but she also thought I was being overly cautious, we analysed deeper and it turned out that she felt a sense of urgency as her new guy was about to start a 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, it's my job to guide, but not to make a clients decisions for her, so I wished her the best of luck and reinforced that I would be right there if she needed me.
Although I will always give my genuine opinion and I did offer alternative suggestions, I feel strongly that 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, I did worry though that she might encounter one of two outcomes:
Either he would be thrown off guard, and 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 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 I had been able to predict his reaction down to the finest details.
It certainly doesn’t make me feel good being right about things like this, but it simply comes through a knowledge of what is taking place on a deeper psychological level in dating, rather than taking things at face value, or rationalising what we want to be true based on our own psychology rather than the mans. Skills that any woman can learn over time.
I felt that Katie's sudden urgency had disrupted the natural flow that gradually builds between new couples, so in one move the Katie went from being in control, to being the "selector" to abruptly becoming the "selectee", while the man had been engaged and attentive up to this point, but she actually threw a curve ball at him that altered the entire dynamic. What resulted was a sudden loss of attraction.
This may seem very confusing but it’s actually a tale as old as time, this is why generally the guy calls first, he asks the woman out, he gets on bended knee to propose, etc, sure there may be some exceptions to this rule, but in most cases, this is how it goes.
There are far more powerful ways to handle this situation that create a massive increase of attraction to push things to the next level naturally, where both can feel good about the new level of commitment.
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, 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, alternatively she might have been letting the connection get far too comfortable too soon, either way, trying to have "the talk" with a guy rarely works to increase his attraction and investment.
I think we have all been there at some point with a man, where we tried to take the lead, it may have even felt romantic at the time... until it fell flat, he didn’t react anything like we expected and we were left confused, wondering what the hell happened! It’s a terrible feeling.
Katie's friends were already telling her the guy’s 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... and what creates interest and attraction for women is often completely different when it comes to men.
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, 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.
Some women even 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.
Huge love to Katie* who agreed to let me share her story in the hopes it would help someone else in her situation.
Jade Isabelle is a Certified Life Coach and Relationship Consultant based in the UK, She has over fifteen years 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