After all, he brings you small, thoughtful gifts. And, with an inviting gleam in his eye, he tells you how beautiful you are while sitting across the table at a restaurant you would have chosen. He seems to get you.
But here’s what you don’t understand because you have probably been here before, and on more than one occasion: Does the attraction carry the same meaning for him as it does for you? Are those thoughtful gifts, romantic dinners, and sweet-nothings just foreplay, or is he a real keeper?
It’s not easy resisting a man who thinks that you’re just so incredibly special and adorable, particularly when you are about to take off your clothes and surrender to desire. In the moments after that good sex, he makes references to things you will do together in the future, sprinkling the “we” word into the conversation.
It feels right, but it’s felt that way before and wasn’t. What do you do?
You ask your girlfriend Ginny, “Is he committed, or just using me for sex?” She says, “I’ve been trying to answer that question in my own life for some time now, and it’s difficult. Who knows? Maybe he’s just suffering from settling-down fever.”
“But I want something to happen soon,” you plead. “It’s been eight months. I know guys have a hard time climbing the commitment ladder. Each step is an ordeal. But still…”
“Why not just ask him,” Ginny offers optimistically. “Maybe he’ll tell you he’s had his concerns and he’s past that. You’ll feel greatly relieved—like it was just settling-down fever all along.”
You pause. You want to believe. “Okay, yeah, I’m gonna.”
A week passes, then two and then two more. Ginny asks if you have. You haven’t. “Go ahead,” she prompts. “Do it.”
“But I can’t let him know my doubt!” you fire back. “Besides, what if he says he really likes the idea of having a pillow pal, and nothing more? Maybe I’ll find out that he doesn’t really want a life-partner, but can’t bring himself to tell me. The thought of starting over makes me want to vomit!”
“But if you don’t ask,” Ginny insists, “you’ll waste your time with him. I know, I’ve done it more than once, and then when I face another birthday alone, I beat myself up.”
Ginny calls back a few minutes later with a confession. Despite her advice, in contrast to everything she’s said, she is just as confused when it comes to the commitment thing as ever.
Joy. Panic. Optimism. Sadness. Glee! Relief. Anger! Anxiety. Dread. Hope. Fulfillment. Denial…you get the idea. Commitment—how to get it, how to recognize a man who is capable of it—and how to know if it’s only sex. These are the issues that drive women, especially women under forty, crazy.
So, what to do?
Don’t go consulting your cubicle mate who thought “Sex and the City” was a source of meaningful wisdom. And girlfriends may not be any better. Some of the best-intentioned friends, like Ginny, often are as lost as you are. They may want the very best for you, but their hearts are as soft as yours and they are as likely to get drawn to the wrong Mr. Right as you are.
This is a guy issue and it’s a guy who you should turn to. Not any guy, but a guy who you can trust not to massage your heart, but to tell you his truth.
Here are some truths from men who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is:
They say the signals are there, all you need to do is identify them and heed them:
- A man that is headed toward commitment will happily make room for you in his life and his home. He says “we” a lot, and not just in the moments after sex.
- He asks your opinion about major things going on in his life like career issues, family situations, relationships with his buddies, etc.
- Rather than keeping up, he tells his old girlfriends that he has a cool woman now.
- He takes your relationship public to his family, coworkers and friends.
- He volunteers information like who was on the phone, how much he makes, problems he may be having, etc.
- He’s passionate and loving and wants to be around you as much as possible.
- He’s responsive to your requests and meets your important needs willingly and consistently.
- He stays in touch, even if it’s brief when he’s crunching a deadline.
Moral of this little story: Unless you have a girlfriend who thinks like a man, turn to a guy buddy to get the real deal.