Most single adults are really good at dating. So much so, that they are failing to enter into committed relationships. What was once seen as a precursor to marriage, dating is now its own activity, that for many singles has yet to lead anywhere. Blame Tinder, and the ‘hook up’ culture, but the reality is that less adults are entering into relationships. We can’t seem to couple.
The mindset seems logical, why get into a relationship if you know that you’re not ready for marriage?
This philosophy is creating a stressful dating environment as most adults are delaying marriage. But the pursuit of a date isn’t the same as the pursuit of commitment. When it comes to dating, making the first move, a slogan for the dating app Bumble, is common practice for women.
Once that move is made, asking the man out on a date, or initiating the date, is child’s play.
Women have gotten really good taking on traditional roles, and picking up where men are failing to take action. This type of emotional labor is creating an unbalanced culture shift where men are not only resigning to make the first move, but also relinquishing the follow up move to the woman. Men assume that women will eventually become too impatient at his lack of attention. Out of fear of losing him to someone else, or as an exercise of independence, and confidence, some women take it upon themselves to lead the courtship.
No matter how you put it, pursuing men has become an evolution in dating practices. Since women are taking the reins more readily, it’s hard to recognize where to draw the line. Where does making the first move blur with making all the moves.
Men are hunters right? Men like the chase right? So with all we have come to believe about men, are women doing themselves a disservice by pursuing men too aggressively?
Go Ahead, Make the First Move
As Matthew Hussey puts it, this is nothing new, as 19th century women used to drop their handkerchiefs to capture a love interest. Making the man think that he was making the first move, when she was the one who had initiated the interaction after all. In today’s dating landscape there is no need to make an explicit ‘first move’ as long as you are making yourself easy to talk to.
Women have a great way of hiding themselves the majority of the time. And for good reason. Unwanted attention is the byproduct of being a woman, and most women just don’t want to endure it on a daily basis.
If you are a woman that is closed off to unsolicited attention, approaches, and catcalls then pursuing a man makes sense. Your energy has to be inviting, and maybe it isn’t because of what you endure on your daily commute, or in your work environment. Men around you that you find attractive might feel a little distance, or a wall up.
If this is the case, it’s okay to open up to a guy that you like first. Keeping unwanted attention at bay, can keep all attention at bay, making it necessary to reach out to the guys that you do want to talk to first.
Show Interest But Don’t Invest
If you like a man, and you want to let him know that you’re interested, there are plenty of ways to get his attention. It could be as simple as saying hello, making small talk, giving him a compliment, or finding reasons to connect for coffee. Showing interest takes the pressure off of him to initiate the contact. Don’t confuse interest with investment.
If you like a guy, make it known. You don’t have to be shy about it, but you also don’t have to take him to dinner, and court him like he would you. You don’t have to start doing him favors, and offering to go above and beyond his investment levels.
Often times, a woman will meet a guy that she likes, who is showing her attention but isn’t investing. He doesn’t make plans, or he goes days, even weeks without contacting her. In this scenario many women wonder if they should ‘do more’ to get his attention. The fact that he is consuming your thoughts is more investment than you should be making.
It’s great to have chemistry, and a crush on someone, but if the man hasn’t made any effort to bring you into his life, then you should be wary of why. If you want to pursue him, consider inviting him to an event that you’re attending, and giving him an opportunity to spend time with you. If he declines, then let it go. It’s not your responsibility to come up with more creative ideas to see each other, or to organize a meeting around his schedule. People have their reasons for how they prioritize their lives. If a man isn’t making you a priority then pursuing him isn’t the answer.
You shouldn’t play coy, and reserved, as if you aren’t interested but you shouldn’t take on the responsibility of coordinating meetings that are above and beyond his investment level.
Don’t Fill the Gaps
He likes me but, ‘his work is very busy’, ‘he has his kids every weekend’, ‘he’s working on a new project’, etc. It’s not unusual for women to fill in the gaps of a man’s behavior. If you are dating a guy, or interested in a guy, but he isn’t showing much gumption when it comes to getting to know you or planning dates then don’t take it upon yourself to come up with excuses.
Pursuing a man isn’t about chasing someone who isn’t interested. If you want to pursue a man that isn’t taking action as quickly as you would like, determine how it makes you feel before you proceed. Women tend to fill in the gaps of a man’s behavior with excuses, or actions, instead of just asking for what they want.
No pursuit required. If you want to see him more often, tell him. If you want him to call you more, tell him. If you want to make plans in advance, then tell him.
Communication over pursuit is the way to create equality in the relationship. Instead of hinting about events, and what evenings you’re free that week, just be honest. A few phrases that might help to open the conversation, and encourage him to take action.
‘I really enjoyed our last conversation, call me when you’re home from work.’
‘I want to see your face, when can we make plans?’
‘I would drop everything to see you, if I could but let’s plan in advance.’
Straightforward, and playful phrases can open up dialogue and address issues at the same time. No need to take the reins, and assume the responsibility, just create space to communicate.
Pursuing a man isn’t a bad thing. You know what you want, and that is a great way to get it but the man that you want needs the opportunity to show you that he is also invested. Don’t be afraid to start conversations before taking action and gauge where he is at. Your confidence and bold action will pay off without sacrificing the courtship.