Are You Accidentally Telling Him It’s Casual?

Naleda was a vibrant 22-year-old who oozed confidence. She made direct eye contact and shook my hand firmly. As she settled into a chair, I asked her why she’d come to see me.

She froze. I could see her confidence drain away.

She took a deep breath and confessed, “I think I drive men away.”

She explained that she got lots of attention from men. That wasn’t the problem.

The problem was turning that attention into a relationship.

“As soon as I start liking a guy—REALLY liking him—it’s over,” she said. “Everything gets weird. I can basically guarantee he’ll start avoiding me within 24 hours after I tell him how I feel.”

Has that ever happened to you?

Then you need the Relationship Spectrum.

The Relationship Spectrum

Envision your relationship on a spectrum.

On the far left is CASUAL. On the far right is SERIOUS.

CASUAL                                                                                                      SERIOUS

Where do you think your relationship falls?

The typical relationship starts off on the left. It’s fun, easy, and uncommitted.

As time goes on, most women expect the relationship to become more serious.

Each date should move the slider further to the right.

Unfortunately, your guy may not see it that way.

He may still see your relationship as casual, while you see your relationship becoming more serious.

This mismatch can make things incredibly awkward.

You think you’re at the stage in your relationship where he should emotionally support you, whereas he thinks that’s a job better left to people who’ve known you longer.

To make matters worse, a lot of couples avoid the subject of how serious or casual they are.

They assume the other person feels the same way they do.

This was the trap Naleda was falling into.

If she felt ready to take her relationship to the next level, she assumed her guy felt the same way. (And she was, by nature, quick to fall in love.)

But relationships aren’t “casual” one day and “serious” the next.

They move forward gradually.

It doesn’t work to leap ahead when your partner isn’t ready.

Slide Left, Slide Right

Relationships don’t move along the relationship spectrum on their own.

It’s the actions we take that make our relationships more casual or more serious.

We are in charge of moving our relationships in the direction we prefer.

Sometimes the actions we take backfire.

You do something that you think will make him want you more, while he takes your behavior to mean you don’t want something serious.

Here are three behaviors that you may not realize are keeping your relationships casual…

And what you can do instead to move closer to commitment.

Slide Left: Play Hard to Get

It’s not hard to spot someone who’s playing hard to get.

They’re deliberately unavailable. They don’t respond to messages in a timely manner. They act like they don’t care.

Most of us can see through this behavior. We know whether a person is being genuine or not about their availability.

Playing hard to get tells the other person—whether you mean it to or not—that you aren’t serious about the relationship.

The other person can’t count on you, and being able to count on someone is a prerequisite for a serious relationship.

Slide Right: Detach from the Outcome

A better way to keep a man interested is to enjoy him while remaining detached from the outcome.

You see, what so often sabotages us is our burning desire to have the other person.

We want them and only them. We will do whatever it takes to have them.

That energy is off-putting. No one wants to be a prize to be won.

Replace that goal-oriented perspective with curiosity and open-mindedness.

You want to see where this will lead. You’re okay if it doesn’t work out.

Slide Left: Unpredictability

Want to know how to get a guy hooked? Be unpredictable.

Sometimes you’re thrilled to see him. Other times you’re cool.

Sometimes you text back right away. Other times you wait a day.

He never knows what to expect from you.

A casual guy may find that entertaining, but a serious guy will get frustrated.

A guy who is serious about you will want to see that you’re serious about him, too.

Unpredictable behavior tells him you’re not serious about him—even if you are.

Slide Right: Consistently Paced

Good relationships are built on consistency and stability.

You can rely on each other.

So be consistent, but at the same time, match your pace to his.

Don’t move faster than he does.

You don’t want to leap ahead while he’s still finding his feet.

Slide Left: Never Let Him Know How You Feel

It’s classic dating advice…

Always keep a guy guessing.

If he knows how you feel about him too soon, it will put him off.

But guys who are serious want to know that their feelings are reciprocated.

Hiding your feelings may communicate that you’re not interested—even if you are.

Slide Right: Appropriate Disclosure

It’s inappropriate to tell him you love him on the second date.

But it is appropriate to tell him you like him and want to see where things lead.

Guys need reassurance, too. They want to know that their efforts are being appreciated.

You can do your own investigation into which behaviors make your relationships more casual versus more committed.

You can get really good at sensing where your relationship falls on the spectrum and moving it in the direction you prefer.

If this tool helps you, share it with a friend!

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