It’s amazing to me that one of the biggest frustrations I hear from women I meet is that men don’t do “what they want” them to do. They text too much, are not on time, come on too strong, are too nice, too busy or don’t call at all. Geez, is it really the men who are all wrong?
In even making the list above I realize that while there are plenty of men who have not yet completely MANvolved into Mr. Boyfriend Material, is it really their “fault” they are not meeting your needs?
To make things trickier, when I ask women what they need or want, many can not articulate exactly what they are looking for. That said, imagine if you knew the following:
1. What you want in a partner — exactly. (And I am talking deeper than dark hair, tall and financially successful)
2. How to effectively communicate your needs and expectations in a way which vets out those who are not a match, without having to be a bitch, brash or judgemental.
3. Simple ways to set boundaries so that you can allow the possibility of a relationship to unfold, before you automatically delete him from your phone. Here’s the truth: In order to get your needs met you have to be able to articulate exactly what you need, and then be able to communicate these needs in a way that is appropriate, kind, compassionate and reveals your true, authentic self.
Here are three steps you can take NOW to take the pressure off the men in your life so that they don’t have to learn how to read your mind, AND you begin to get exactly what it is that you want:
1. How does it really make you feel when he texts exclusively? When he is late, what does it mean to you? How does it make you feel? What do you need regarding the perfect text/phone combination for you? Is it ok if he is late when he calls to let you know? It’s critical that you decide what works for you, exactly. Most importantly, try to forgive, if not forget, the men in your past that annoyed you relentlessly with their poor communication habit or disregard for time. The guy you are considering now, is quite simply NOT that guy!
Give each man the benefit of the doubt, unless his words and actions have given you enough clues to know he has not earned it. If this is true, let him know it’s not a match and move on with your grace and dignity in tact. Once you know how you feel, and what you need, it’s time to move on to step #2.
2. Talk to him, communicating your needs directly. Let’s take the text question as an example. Begin by acknowledging his efforts thus far, or the fact that you appreciate him taking time to reach out via text. Next, tell him what you NEED! Yep, put it on the line and don’t be afraid to be bold. Tell him you are a person who values good ol’ voice-to-voice contact.
Last, invite him to call you at a time that works for you, asking if this is something that could work for him too. If he tells you he is a text-only type, then decide if this is a deal breaker. If you choose to let it slide, though, you must then never get “pissy” when your phone doesn’t ring, and you are left thinking that you may actually be starting to dig his text message personna, without having a clue as to how his voice actually sounds.
The bottom line is this: Once you communicate, he feels recognized for his effort, knows what you need and expect, and you are both agreeing to whatever resolution is reached together.
3. Finally, if your needs are not being met, it’s time to learn how to set boundaries. For many women, this is the most difficult part of self-care. One of my clients shared a story yesterday in which an online date ultimately became “bad” because when leaving the coffee shop, her date recognized his car had been towed. Instead of politely excusing herself from the impending car conflict (setting a boundary), she felt obligated to be part of his crisis management team. He called his mom (?!), wildly complained about the $200 fee he had to pay to get his car back, and whined for hours while they drove in her car searching for the car, an ATM machine etc…
Meanwhile, my client, who had only known this man for one hour (give or take a few exchanged emails and texts) prior to the car adventure, spent the entire time she was with him fantasizing about how she might exit the drama without “hurting his feelings.” The result was that not only did she see a part of him he most likely didn’t want to share on a first date, she became annoyed with herself for not speaking up. She felt bad she could not SET the boundary immediately.
Had she followed steps #1 and #2 above, it could have been simple from the get-go. (e.g., “Thank for a great time and buying me coffee. It’s such a drag your car was towed. I am going to get to the rest of my day now, and look forward to hearing how it turns out when we talk next.”) Instead, she wondered why he didn’t excuse her, politely releasing her into the streets of Los Angeles to return to the live she loves.
In short, she expected him to read her mind. It’ time to stop playing the blame game and understand that men are NOT, as dating expert, Alison Armstrong states, merely “hairy women.” They deserve to know what you want so that they have an opportunity to deliver. It’s that simple. Men can’t EVER read your mind.
Interested in learning more? Check out www.datingwithdignity.com!