I met the beautiful blonde Katie in a yoga class in early 2009. She was sexy, fun, funny, and we had an instant connection. Unfortunately, she was also dating someone else at the time, so my hopes of taking our down dogs any farther were thwarted.
A couple years later, she had broken up with that guy, and her mom had died unexpectedly. Since I had gone through something similar when my wife died a few years earlier she called me up and we started dating. But she made an innocent mistake neither of us knew she made and it cost us our relationship. When I say she made a mistake, I do not intend to blame her. This is something a lot of women do, because it sounds like good advice. But many hearts have been broken and many relationships ended because of it.
Here's what happened. We started seeing each other casually. We were wildly attracted to each other, but she made a rule: no sex until we're exclusive. Women, don't ever ever EVER make this deal. It will be the ruin of your relationship.
I'm going to tell you something that sounds kind of embarrassing, but its absolutely true. When you make a deal with a man like that, here's what happens. In his head, sex with you becomes the goal. And if your relationship is already charged with electricity, he will do anything required to have sex with you.
And here's the rub: he won't know that's what is motivating him. And neither will you. So here's what happened: intoxicated by my overwhelming desire to be with her sexually, I agreed to this exclusivity. But I wasn't ready for that. I didn't even want that. I was in a single phase, where I wanted to date, but not get serious. The ultimatum allowed me to convince myself I was ready and that I wanted a serious relationship.
And as soon as we had sex, I regretted it. With my desire satisfied, my eyes opened to the reality of what I really wanted. It's kind of like this: Have you ever been really really really hungry? Say you're on a road trip, it's the middle of the night and you're in the middle of Kansas. You haven't eaten since Louisville and the only thing open at that time of night is the Wendy's drive thru. Usually, you'd never compromise and at some fast food joint, but you are about to gnaw off your own forearm. So you take the exit, and order the triple stack baconator.
That's what ultimatums are like for a guy. When a girl makes an ultimatum, his goal switches from winning you, to conquering you, your objections, your reservations.
All guys? Of course not. Some guys will reservedly take your ultimatum and allow you to set the rules. Because he's afraid of you and later you'll resent his lack of masculinity.
So what to do instead? Make the goal for him to be to win you. Don't set up any rules of when you have sex with him. Be clear about what you want: if it's casual sex, do that. If it's a real relationship, hold out until you see evidence that he's committed. Most importantly, before you have sex with him NEVER tell him what the requirements are for you to have sex with him. If you do, you set you both up to be disappointed by his overwhelming desire for you. An overwhelming desire that is good. And has to be properly directed.
Oh, and me and Katie? We broke up shortly after we slept together. She was pretty mad at me, and with good reason. And I shook my head wondering what happened. About 18 months later, I ran into her at a coffee shop. She'd gotten engaged to a great guy who really loved her the way she wanted. So in spite of our little bump in the road, it turned out happy for her.
Which means even if you've made this mistake, or feel like you've made every mistake possible, if you wonder if love will ever find his way to your door, he will. And he'll bring you something better than a Wendy's baconator for dinner.
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