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We get the sense that women aren’t always sure how and when to assert themselves in a relationship, especially a new relationship, mostly for fear of scaring away a guy they really like. Many “experts” advise against trying to define the relationship too early. Sure, you don’t want to be talking marriage/children/the future on the first few dates, but you also don’t want the relationship to progress towards the physical (aka sex) without any sort of conversation about his emotional investment. Being too passive early on is just as harmful as being too assertive.
All relationships eventually fall into their natural order, where one person is dominant, the other not. However, if that balance of power is too one-sided, or the non-dominant person is afraid to, or unable to, assert themselves, typically the relationship will fall apart, or maybe even turn abusive. This seems to happen more often to women, since typically men are dominant. However, by giving away your power, you actually give away your leverage. (Negotiating from a place of strength is always more effective than negotiating from a place of weakness.) The general rule: A guy will respect you more if you hold your ground and say what you want and need, and then NOT backpedal out of fear.
This comes down to self-respect. The more you believe that you have much to offer, and that he should feel lucky to have you, the more he’ll believe it. This is not about game playing, this is about believing in yourself and projecting that to your man, and the world.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t make compromises. On the contrary, relationships require constant compromise in order to solve issues that most surely will arise. However, those compromises are about specific problems and should not undermine your values or beliefs. It’s a fine balance of course.
The million dollar question is: Where is that balance?
If you’re too assertive too early, you risk scaring the man away. That’s a very real possibility. Of course, if you’re with the kind of man who scares that easily it was bound to happen anyway.
But if you’re Too Passive, you may get the man in the short term, but the long-term risk is greater because now you’ve gotten yourself into a purely physical arrangement that rarely evolves into something more serious. He’s putting in minimal effort for maximum returns and that works well for him. Now you’re in a holding pattern, like a plane hovering over an airport waiting to land. A holding pattern means you’re stuck. Your current situation is going nowhere and you’ve cut yourself off from other possibilities. Based on the questions we receive on our site, it seems many women are finding themselves in this situation.
We don’t have a great answer for this conundrum, but in general, having sex BEFORE there’s been any discussion about the actual relationship and where it’s going or not going, is not the best idea. It’s important to have the talk, and define the relationship, in conjunction with “getting cozy.”
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Other Relationship Advice from THE GUYS:
Read our Short E-Report on: Having the Talk