#202 | 5 Steps to Resolving Your “Situation-ships” (Undefined and Unclear Relationships) With Men with Anna Rova
When you spend a lot of time with a man, naturally a bond develops. You hang out and do different things. You laugh. You watch movies together, you enjoy the same hobbies and activities. You travel together, you visit family and friends. You share meals. You share beds…
Your natural pull towards the same things and values as well as spending a lot of time together is an indication that (surprise!) at least one of you likes the other beyond the pure friendship zone.
That’s how attraction happens.
We’re programmed and designed to bond over food, discussions, and other activities.
So unless your friend is a gay male or a female, you’ll probably find yourself in a situation-ship with a man where you’re not sure what you are anymore: friends, friends with benefits, or a romantic relationship?
Most of the time when a single woman is friends with a man, either she starts liking him or he starts liking her.
Next thing you know you’re sleeping with the guy because he’s so nice but you’re actually not attracted to him and don’t know how to reject him gracefully. Or you’re sleeping with the guy hoping that this turns into something more serious where the guy is clearly not interested in anything more serious.
The worst situation you can find yourself in is “hanging out” with a man you have feelings for and watch him go pick up other women or talk to you about his various girlfriends.
You’re much better than that.
Can men and women be friends?
Yes, absolutely, but in circumstances often accompanied by special conditions and constraints.
Marriage or being in another relationship is one such scenario (but even this situation is walking through a narrow line).
Workplace or a work setting is another scenario.
And family friends is yet another one.
I am happily married and don’t have a need in my life for male friends at all. Why would I want that? All of my friendship needs are filled my female girlfriends and the closest male presence to me is my husband (who I don’t expect to be my “friend”) so I do not feel the need to bond with other males.
I have work colleagues and peers, family friends, and acquaintances from the past but I don’t spend much time or resources with another male besides my husband.
The same is true for him.
The deciding factor is the amount of quality time spent together. If you find yourself spending a lot of time with a man who is not interested in anything romantic and you are (or vice versa) this is not friendship.
This is dating on vague terms.
There is no such thing as friends with benefits. Especially if you’re a woman. Some women can do it but most of us can’t. Eventually and inevitably this type of situation leads to either a relationship (which technically already is but the terms are unclear and undefined) or hurt feelings (terms are unclear and undefined).
Women are programmed and designed evolutionarily to attach to the man they’re having sex with because as soon as a penis enters a vagina, the chances of babies being conceived are quite high. Evolutionary psychology didn’t have enough time to adapt to the contraception pill or the condom, therefore, the fact that you’re using protection doesn’t mean anything. This is one of the main reasons why when women have sex with men they’re so quick to attach and assume that this is a relationship.
From the male perspective, things are waaaaay simpler. Just because his penis was inside a woman and even if ejaculation happened (chances of conceiving babies extremely high) evolutionary speaking he doesn’t give a damn because he can get up and leave. In fact, that’s what he’s designed to do evolutionary: impregnate as many women as possible and move on.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) women do not have that luxury. Women have to deal with very serious consequences that might result from a casual one-night stand. Thankfully, progress and science have made it possible for women to have fun and not think about the consequences. However, even though our chances of actually getting pregnant are almost 0% when using protection, our minds, and our psychology has not caught up with that science. We still attach and develop feelings for men we are sleeping with.
Not the same for men.
Sex is never the same for women and men.
So, if you can (I was never able to) refrain from sex while in the early dating stages so your mind isn’t cloudy and foggy.
This helps you base your decision of whether to continue seeing a man based on his character, his values, his ability to take charge and stand strong in his masculinity and not on your pure emotional attachment because this man was lucky enough to be let inside of you twice a week for the past month.
Being “friends” with a man but deep down inside you know you’d rather be his girlfriend? Here is your 5-step formula on what to do next:
- Get clear on what this is
- Set boundaries & communicate
- Drop the boys club
- Surround yourself with women
- Start your dating funnel
Let’s take it step by step.
Step 1: Get clear on what this is
Objectively look at your “situation-ship” for what it really is. There are only 2 scenarios here:
Scenario 1: You’re into him, he’s not into you. He’s not putting in any effort, he’s taking you for granted, and he’s treating you like a booty call or one of his buddies. Do not lie to yourself. When a man is ready, willing, and available for a relationship, you just know. In this scenario what you know is that you wish he was ready, willing, and available but he’s not. Actions speak louder than words. You can come up with 100 different excuses of why he might still be interested and how things could change but they’re not going to save this situation. Don’t do that to yourself. Get clear and get serious. You’re into him, he’s not into you. What to do about it? Move on to “Step 2: Set boundaries & communicate.”
Scenario 2: He’s into you, you’re not into him. This one is pretty clear. We’ve all been there. He is a very nice guy but there is no spark and no attraction. Amazing guy but you’re not feeling it. You go out with him (and maybe even have sex with him) because you feel sorry for him and you don’t want to break your heart. There also might be no one else better not the horizon so you keep doing it. And, secretly, you also use him as a crutch to keep you going through the sad times. You know you need to end it but you can’t bring yourself to hurt the guy. What to do about it? Move on to “Step 2: Set boundaries & communicate.”
Note: There is, of course, Scenario 3 where he’s into you and you’re into him. He’s pursuing you, he’s there, he’s constantly making plans. He’s available. You can trust him. Things are very clear in your mind and in your heart. He has claimed you as his woman and you became exclusive. That is called a relationship. If you’re not at this stage yet, you’re either actively dating or you’re in Scenarios 1 or 2 (you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise.)
Step 2: Set boundaries & communicate
Here we’re going to use the Four Step Formula to Setting Your Boundaries With Men.
Step 1: Explore and set your own boundaries.
Here are some questions to consider:
What are you available for in a dynamic with a man? What is your YES?
What are you not available for in a dynamic with a man? What is your NO?
Step 2: Feel into these boundaries.
Notice how you feel about these boundaries. Boundaries can’t really be rationalized or intellectualized. It’s a feeling thing. It’s in your body. It’s instinctual.
How does your body respond when a man does or says something you’re not available for?
How does your body respond when a man does something you are available for?
You might feel it in your chest when yet again he has chosen another woman and has treated you like his buddy. You might feel it in your gut when you said YES to the nice guy but actually meant NO. You might feel it in your stomach when yet again you are not his priority.
Really set the time to cultivate your feeling around it so that you can recognize it next time it comes around and you can act fast.
Step 3: Act on these boundaries.
What do you need to do to enforce these boundaries?
Who do you need to talk to and express this boundary to?
Hint: talk about how overstepping these boundaries makes you feel. Men understand and hear us when we talk about feelings. Don’t blame him. Explain that it’s really unpleasant/upsetting/frustrating/disappointing. If he loves and respects you, he will listen. If not, well, why are you with this man in the first place?!
Hot tip: boundaries don’t hold long enough without consequences and reinforcements. So if you are repeating yourself in a polite way talking about your feelings and he’s still not respecting your boundary — introduce consequences.
But start with the shit sandwich.
Say something like “George, I love spending time with you and I think you’re an amazing guy (start with something positive). I feel like we might not be on the same page, though. I’m actually looking for a long-term partnership and if you’re not available for that, I feel like I’m wasting my time and I feel sad (set the boundary with an emphasis on feelings.) If you keep letting me know about your plans last minute, we’ll have to stop our communication (consequence). I trust that you will respect my feelings. I love spending time with you (end with something positive).”
- Say how much you appreciate him and what he does
- Then say what bothers you putting an accent on feelings
- Then introduce the consequence
- End with a positive note and say that you trust he will do the right thing
MOST IMPORTANT THING: Keep your word and actually follow the consequence. There is nothing worse than setting a consequence and not following through. He will know you’re bluffing. Once he understands you mean business, he will stop with the unwanted behavior. But be nice about it. Be a human being. Don’t do this like an evil witch. Do it like a queen.
If the first consequence doesn’t seem to produce the results that you want — introduce a stronger consequence. If he still doesn’t do it — time to rethink the reasons you’re with this man.
Step 4: Be ready to deal with repercussions
Know that he will resist, complain and reject all kinds of pressure to change his behavior simply because it’s too much effort. He would much rather have things go the old way. Especially, if he’s been allowed to do whatever the hell he wanted in the past (have sex without the consequences of actually dealing with a relationship.)
Oh well, too bad. In time, he’ll get used to it. Or not.
Have patience. Let him learn and understand what’s important to you and how you want to be treated.
And if he doesn’t, it’s time to move on. Not the fake “I’ll-start-dating-other-guys-so-you-see-what-you’ve-lost” type of moving on but real moving on. Where you’ve felt through this situation, decided and felt that this is not serving you, and moved on from that place. Opening yourself up to other men and opportunities.
Also, ask yourself these questions:
Who might you upset with having these boundaries?
What might you lose while holding these boundaries?
When you start to change, there is a possibility that other people won’t like it. They will resist not being able to “ride you” any longer. Your setting of boundaries will make them rethink theirs.
Get ready to lose some relationships and gain some others. People with healthy boundaries don’t hang around people who don’t respect themselves. Women who have high standards don’t have girlfriends who let their men be less than what they’re capable of.
Step 3: Drop the boys club
So many women (including myself in the past) are priding themselves on being “one of the dudes” and constantly being surrounded by guy friends.
Only to see those guy friends always picking other women and not them.
What’s the payoff for being one of the dudes?
I get to be part of the boy’s club
I don’t get to be vulnerable.
I don’t get to do “silly things that women do.”
I don’t gossip and talk about superficial things.
I am not weak.
I don’t get to be taken care of.
I don’t get to be prioritized and chosen.
I don’t get to be a woman.
“But I have so many male friends who will die for me,” says Rita with subtle sadness on her face…
Yeah, you do but you don’t have a man in your life who would actually be your romantic partner and die for you not because you’re one of his buddies but because he loves you for you.
He loves you because you’re a woman and not his fellow beer-drinking-couch-surfing-let’s-go-pick-up-the-girls mate.
Men and women are not designed to be friends.
Leave that to their own sex.
Men and women are first and foremost designed to mate and be romantic partners.
It’s nature and biology.
So the conclusion really is if you’re single and looking for a romantic partner, you should probably drop the idea of “being friends” and ditch your male friends who’re not interested in the same thing as you in terms of a long-term relationship.
Step 4: Surround yourself with women
If you find yourself being surrounded by a lot of male friends and almost no female friends, I’d recommend starting to switch to a mostly female friend circle.
Having issues with a mostly female circle? I’d recommend working on your beliefs about women so you can stop judging women.
How you attract a masculine romantic partner who takes charge and is attractive is by embodying and embracing your feminine more. And you can’t do that when you’re constantly surrounded by other men.
First off, you’ll just be more like a dude constantly activating your masculine energy. Not being smart about putting yourself out there and maximizing your chances of actually being approached and dating.
If you’re constantly surrounded by guy friends, other men simply won’t approach because the barrier to entry is too high (literally). He has to pass their BS detector and peacock around them first to get to you. In some scenarios that would probably be a good thing but in most, it’s not.
Women have spent time together for thousands of years. Only recently, when we finally got all the rights and opportunities, we have marched into offices in tall buildings with glass windows and sterile bathrooms and started spending most of our time in rooms and meetings with men.
Amazing progress for any woman who wants to be free, independent, make her own living, and rise to the top but what that did to us is that it ripped out the heart of how we bond, interact and feel full: being with other women.
Being with other women not only provides us with emotional stability and fulfillment but this is also how we have managed to raise our babies together, forage, get food and survive the harsh realities of nature.
Any working woman today is disconnected from her feminine and is starving to regain that connection with other women.
So make conscious steps to spend as much time as you can with other women sharing food, being in nature, and pursuing hobbies that make you feel alive. Cry together, laugh together, support each other.
Step 4: Start your dating funnel.
This is called The Rule of Thirds. This rule states that you should ALWAYS be dating at least 3 men at a time — create your dating funnel.
When you’re only seeing 1 man (especially if you’re sleeping with him) you put all of your eggs in one basket. As soon as you start having sex with him, you think you’re in a relationship while he is still dating. Just because you started having sex, it doesn’t mean that you’re exclusive.
There should be absolutely no guilt about this at all. How do you think men are dating? Men are always seeing many different women. And that’s exactly how dating works. Dating isn’t a “let-me-make-the-first-person-I-meet-my-boyfriend” scenario. Men are strategic and easy-going about dating. They’re taking their time to have fun and carefully select the woman they want to commit to OUT OF MANY.
You should be doing the same thing.
Because more often than not women have confidence and self-esteem issues, they just settle for the first guy who pays attention and pursues them thinking they’re in a relationship.
You should be putting yourself out there as much as you can and dating as many men as you can within reason until one of them emerges as a top contender and claims you as his woman. Only when you decide to say yes (become exclusive) this becomes a relationship.
Before then moment, you’re “shopping for shoes.”
When you’re dating, think that you’re just shopping for shoes.
Have fun and don’t let things get into your head.
Note: if you’re noticing that you’re attracting emotionally unavailable or feminine men, you need to seriously work on your belief systems about men as well as stepping back and embodying your femininity.
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