In today’s climate of dating, early sexual encounters are common. These encounters may serve to give validation to a budding relationship; however, they’re often fleeting. So how can we determine when someone has something special to offer without jumping in bed? Ask this question: Is the behavior demonstrated towards us favorable? Does your partner acknowledge that you are special?
Today more than ever, we have diluted expectations of those we date. We have been trained to believe that to ask for what we want is unfair. The result: we’ve become afraid to ask, risk, and lose. Yet, setting the standard of expectation is laying the foundation for the mutual needs in the relationship..
As women, somewhere along the way it was suggested that if we required something from a man we were needy. But both men and women have needs that deserve respect. If we cannot share that common ground, there is no need for each other in a relationship. Our expectations can set the bar for a certain level of consideration and respect. The requirements of needs or expectations are the icons of self respect and self worth.
Ladies and girls: A relationship of substance goes well beyond hooking up or hanging out. The union between two people, e.g. “the relationship,” is defined by actions and words. For instance, if your partner is uncertain about your standing, they will not identify themselves as a person “in a relationship” on Facebook. That said, when a man falls in love with a woman, that woman is the only woman in living color. If she is worth it to him, he will find a way to woo her and eventually identify her as “in a relationship”—whether or not the Facebook world gets to “like” the updated status. The inspiration for this is inherent in his decision to make good (win her).
Many of us may agree that the days of men earning the heart of a girl/woman have diminished in the last two decades. Yet, there remains an act of valor in a man showing up confident—not cocky—true to his word and respectful of the one he loves.
Can it be said that some men have become complacent on the dating scene? Recently, while engaged in a conversation with a group of 30-something single men, I heard them describe women today as independent and often unresponsive to courting. They concluded with “why bother?” Sadly, independent women send a mixed message to interested men. The guys are left not knowing whether courtesy is clumsy or independence is revered, and in response to this grey area, men wait and see rather than risk being shut down. Yet, women who initiate an overture or begin the haughty game of catch me if you can shoot themselves in the foot. Perhaps the necessary adjustment is for men to man up . . . and women . . . to dial it down.
Recently, we posed the question, “How does a woman set the scenario for how she wants to be treated?” Our Senior Life Coach consultant, Matt Jackson (father of a teenage daughter), shared a proactive response to this question: “I want to show her proper treatment so she will recognize it when she is with a gentleman. I understand that it is up to me to set a precedent for my daughter as to how to be treated.”
“What kind of romancing relationship would I like to see my daughter have? The best indication of what she may expect can come through my introduction. I can take her on a date to set the tone by showing how a gentleman treats her. Therefore, in dating my daughter, it is my intention to demonstrate to her an acceptable way to be treated. As a guy, I know there are little things that may not be so little. In fact, they may be indicators of the true substance of the man. Such as, is he conscientious and looking out for her? Does he have her back? ”
“As a man, if I take responsibility for my daughter and demonstrate a positive masculine role model, I set the tone for the character of the man she will be open and responsive to.”
So let’s send a shout-out to women everywhere . . . yes, all daughters included. You don’t have to earn the love you deserve; you don’t have to make excuses for a man’s circumstance (i.e., he has been hurt, has a hard time trusting, needs more time); if you’re “the one,” he’ll find a way to claim your heart; if he cannot do this, then perhaps he is not “the one.”
Women: Give men the chance to be men! Don’t play the “catch me” game with them. Act with dignity and make certain that you don’t casually give your heart to one who is under serving/ undeserving of your devotion. Even if, perhaps, your father failed to show you the man that you require and deserve.
If you are unable to articulate what is acceptable, or you are guided by fear or loss, stop and regroup! You set the bar for the behavior that illuminates you as the gift to be respectfully coveted.