Here are the words that no person wants to hear, “We need to talk.” Just typing it makes me cringe a little. This is because we know what is coming next and it’s not good. It means someone is about to have THE TALK. This could be called the “define the relationship talk” or what I call the “talk them into it talk”. It is always bad and never has to happen.
The truth is that if you have to have THE TALK you are probably screwed. When both people like each other there is a pretty natural flow. Now I don’t mean that you don’t talk about your relationship and what you are thinking. I’m talking about pretending you don’t know the truth and then trying to control it with a conversation.
This is different for men and women.
Let’s start with the ladies. Ladies can often feel the need for THE TALK a few months into the relationship or even after a few dates. Now if this is into the relationship this is probably the guys fault and we’ll get to that later. But ladies this is almost never a good idea. And I want to warn you, make sure you actually want to hear the answer before you ask for THE TALK.
If you are deep into a relationship (meaning months not a few dates) and the guy is not pursuing you or leading the relationship that’s bad news. It means one of two things. It may be that he is not that into you and is too passive, comfortable, or lazy to break up. It may also be that he has something going on inside of him that is keeping him from leading forward (this could be sin, woundeness, or just immaturity). I’ll admit I’ve been both those guys. No matter what it’s you can’t fix it.
You should indeed have a conversation here. But rather than create a dramatic moment that for sure will backfire, here’s a couple of ways you could approach it. You could just ask him calmly how he feels about the relationship, where he sees it going. You will know by his answer right? Then you can either give it a little more time or break it off.
Now, on the other hand if it is early on, after a few dates and you just aren’t sure (although honestly you probably know) then I think it’s ok to test it to get a better idea. Try making a plan further out in the future. What’s his reaction. Look, if a guy is into you, you’ll know 90% of the time. If you feel like he’s not it’s ok to bolt. If you really like him and he chases you down, then great. But if he doesn’t he was looking for a way out to begin with. Don’t lay your whole heart out there after a few dates. He hasn’t earned that. You are worth pursuing right?
And ladies. If there is someone you like who is not pursuing you, do not ask him out. Now I’m going to write a post soon on how you can help a guy you like ask you out. But even then you can only lead a horse to water. He has to want to go out with you.
Gentlemen we typically have the talk when we like someone but aren’t dating them. This is perhaps the most ridiculous idea ever. And yet I’ve done it. Many times actually. It hurts me more than you know to type that and I can tell you it does not work. It makes you desperate and unattractive.
Typically it happens like this. We have someone we’ve met (or even just seen around – heaven have mercy) and we aren’t dating them. We haven’t even really asked them out. Maybe we’ve been in a small group or we work with them or whatever. We’ve probably become “friends” with them (post coming soon). But we decide that now is the time to declare our intentions.
It seems almost noble and sort of “Christian” but I assure you it isn’t. All that is going to happen is you are going to put a huge amount of pressure on the situation. No matter what she says, it’s going to go bad. Look, here is how to find out if a girl likes you. Ask her out. If she says yes go on a short first date. If she says no then move on. Do not have THE TALK. For the love of all things, do not think that you are going to talk her into liking you.
Here’s what THE TALK really is. It is an attempt to avoid or change reality. You already know the answer.
So have you ever had THE TALK? Have you ever seen it actually work?
Justin – I love this post! I have seen guys try to have the TALK – and you describe it so well. One guy told my twin sister (a guy she DEFINITELY was not into at all) – “The way I see it, our relationship can go one of two ways…” And my sister was thinking, “Never talk to each other again, or continue to be acquaintances?” He was VERY overbearing and smothering. And, honestly, obnoxious. His approach only repelled her further away.
I’ve seen women have the TALK, too. It does not work! I even work with married women who are having problems in their marriage who want to have the TALK about where the relationship is going. NOT GOOD. It only puts pressure on the guy and makes him want to bolt. We have so much more power as women when we apply respect, cooperation, admiration and PATIENCE – waiting on our men, waiting on God to work. Things go much more smoothly when we don’t try to grab the wheel and try to MAKE things work out the way we want them to.
Forgive the wordy comment but, people seem to like lists so here’s one from Dobson that I think contains common sense unisex truth for dating well. Some of the language is old-fashioned because it is time-tested advice. Also, personally, I think it is good to keep dating other people until you are not dating other people. Just because you really (really) like the person after a couple dates (or before) doesn’t mean you should assume that they are a sure thing. Nobody wants to be the foregone conclusion.
1. Don’t let a relationship move too fast in its infancy. The phrase “too hot not to cool down” has validity. Romantic affairs that begin in a frenzy frequently burn themselves out. Take it one step at a time.
2. Don’t discuss your personal inadequacies and flaws in great detail when the relationship is new. No matter how warm and accepting your friend may be, any great revelation of low self-esteem or embarrassing weaknesses can be fatal when interpersonal “valleys” occur. And they will occur.
3. Remember that respect precedes love. Build it stone upon stone.
4. Don’t call too often on the phone or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you.
5. Don’t be too quick to reveal your desire to get married — or that you think you’ve just found Mr. Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you’ll throw him or her into panic.
6. Most important: Relationships are constantly being tested by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling backward from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival. In each instance, the question being asked is “How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one. It wants to know “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure, and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs.
7. Extending the same concept, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers. The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he or she handles that crisis. If the hurting individual can remain calm, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. It often happens that way. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything.
8. Do not depend entirely upon one another for the satisfaction of every emotional need. Maintain interests and activities outside that romantic relationship, even after marriage.
9. Guard against selfishness in your love affair. Neither the man nor the woman should do all the giving. I once broke up with a girl because she let me take her to nice places, bring her flowers, buy her lunch, etc. I wanted to do these things but expected her to reciprocate in some way. She didn’t.
10. Beware of blindness to obvious warning signs that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted, hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc. Believe me, a bad marriage is far worse than the most lonely instance of singleness.
11. Beginning early in the dating relationship, treat the other person with respect and expect the same in return. A man should open doors for a woman on a formal evening; a woman should speak respectfully of her escort when in public, etc. If you don’t preserve this respectful attitude when the foundations of marriage are being laid, it will be virtually impossible to construct them later.
12. Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Neither of you will keep it for long. Don’t let love escape you because of the false values of your culture.
13. If genuine love has escaped you thus far, don’t begin believing “no one would ever want me.” That is a deadly trap that can destroy you emotionally! Millions of people are looking for someone to love. The problem is finding one another!
14. Regardless of how brilliant the love affair has been, take time to “check your assumptions” with your partner before committing yourself to marriage. It is surprising how often men and women plunge toward matrimony without ever becoming aware of major differences in expectation between them.
15. Sexual familiarity can be deadly to a relationship. In addition to the many moral, spiritual, and physical reasons for remaining virgins until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages as well. Though it’s an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect “easy” women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word. It’s pronounced “no!”
16. Country singer Tom T. Hall wrote a song in which he revealed an understanding of the concept we have been describing. His lyric read, “If you hold love too loosely then it flies away; if you hold love too tightly, it’ll die. It’s one of the mysteries of life.”144 Hall’s observation is accurate. If the commitment between a man and a woman is given insufficient importance in their lives, it will wither like a plant without water. The whole world knows that much. But fewer lovers seem to realize that extreme dependency can be just as deadly to a love affair. It has been said that the person who needs the other least will normally be in control of the relationship. I believe that to be true.
17. There is nothing about marriage that eliminates the basic need for freedom and respect in romantic interactions. Keep the mystery and the dignity in your relationship. If the other partner begins to feel trapped and withdraws for a time, grant him or her some space and pull back yourself. Do not build a cage around that person. Instead, release your grip with confidence while never appeasing immorality or destructive behavior.
First of all, if these female Christian marriage counselors on the internet, claim that they are not supposed to advise men, then why are you a male writer, giving advice to women? It’s a huge contradiction and an obvious double standard. This needs to be corrected. This is not fair, not honoring, neither is it respectful to women. Also, everything is not about appeasing men. After all, he is only a man, is only a human and has to answer to the Almighty God, just like the woman. Women should not worship or exalt any man, contrary to you and some female marriage writers on these so called, Christian marriage sites. These people seem to be so consumed with scolding women, that they blind themselves to a need to speak words of encouragement to young vulnerable females. These marriage counselors show how pathetic women can be sometimes. They remind me and others of the bad girls who bully and torment other girls in the schoolyard. What is the saying about “hurt people”? Well anyway, some marriage writers give others the impression that they are sad, with low self esteem, when they get on the internet and demean and degrade their own gender. Men don’t scold and blame and put members of their gender down. They are supportive of each other. And now here is some mes about not asking the man for a talk. This is so unbelievable.
Therefore, to you article writer, you need to be aware that women are to honor, respect, submit, and help their men, JUST AS THE MAN, should, honor, respect, and laying down his life for his woman. Men are sinners just as women are and men are not perfect. But to continually write these articles to tell women not to do this or that, lest the man, get his ego hurt, want to run away, cheat, or not be attracted to his woman, is absolultey the wrong approach and, since you have written this article towards women to tell them that they should not suggest a “talk” with their men, go a bit further and tell the women not to give sex to their men and just keep that light hearted too. Since talking is so wrong, then having pre marital sex should be seen as wrong too. Be fair!
Finally, you know what a cult is? Do you know what indoctrination means? We must be careful as men and women marriage writers, that we not send the message to women that they are not worthy of men, because it may begin to give the notion of something sinister going on. Be careful, that you all not turn women completely off men, with all the hurtful talk, all the blaming, all the scolding. Men are responisible for many tasks in the relationship. We need to see long, drawn out articles to men too. Stop putting all the relationship work on the woman.
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