In some cases they do but it’s confusing because in the dating world, this doesn’t hold up to be true. More specifically it’s time that women start listening to men in a literal sense not from the action standpoint of “well he’s telling me one thing but then why did he do that?” It’s almost as if there is a language that hasn’t been identified yet, it’s what I call the “boyfriend” language. The problem is women are the only ones hearing it but yet we think men are speaking it.
Alison Armstrong in her Amazing Development of Men Audio Program says that “men are literal.” Okay then, I’m hearing we need to take them for their word. Then why do we so often try to put another interpretation on their actions? As women we love to connect with other human beings so that we can express our innate ability to love. So when we spend time with a man we really like and are interested in him as a boyfriend, we start to look for proof that he wants the same thing we do.
Unfortunately men aren’t always speaking the boyfriend language to us. Christian Carter says that “men don’t know what they want until they want it.” That puts us women in the predicament of not knowing where a relationship is headed, if there is a relationship to be had at all. In fact it’s making me realize that it’s a mute point for a woman to even ask a man what they are looking for by dating them or would want in the future with them. The proof of this is when a man tells a woman he doesn’t want a serious relationship and then proposes to his girlfriend 6 months later, or when another man says he is falling in love and sees a potential future and then breaks up with that woman 3 months later.
I recently coached a few clients on this. One was so confused because she was dating a man who was separated from his wife and within a month of them dating, he introduced her to his family, closest friends and even his kids. She then was confused after she engaged him in the exclusivity conversation when he said he wasn’t ready and wanted to continue dating her while he dated other women. Another example….a woman who got on a plane to visit a man she had been friends with for many years, a relationship where they turned into lovers. They had been seeing each other romantically for about 6 months. During that trip they had a great time together but when it came to a conversation, he explained he wasn’t ready and didn’t know what he wanted. Just after he bought her a ring.
While we’re dating, how do we allow ourselves to be present, allow ourselves to appreciate and receive the gifts or expressions of adoration, and not experience the pain of not knowing what we are to them? Confused yet? I can only imagine that you’ve probably already experienced your share of it. As I told my client, the ring is just a ring. In the moment he bought it for her, it meant something to him to be able to do that. It gave him pleasure to provide her with something that made her happy. It’s as simple as that. Any other meaning was meaning she put on it, especially not the meaning that he wants to be her boyfriend.
I’ve been explaining this recently as a “who’s side of the fence are you on?” metaphor. Imagine that there’s a fence. There’s your side and his side. Typically what women do is we are completely on their side of the fence so when we look towards our side, all we see is the fence. We are completely blocked to what’s happening on our side. Sometimes women are sitting on top of the fence and looking at his side which means our back is to our side.
What we need to do is get on our side of the fence and stay over there. Men will sort themselves out, that is guaranteed, we just don’t know how long it will take them or what they will decide in the end. If we are on our side of the fence we can nurture our garden, tend to our fruit trees and feed our luscious lawn. Anytime you are tempted to hop back over that fence or peek through a hole, take a step back and look at how you can beautify the fence on your side. Maybe you can give it some color and paint, or what would it be like to imagine a beautiful mural there? It’s your vision, see what you want to see but make sure what you’re hearing is exactly what he’s telling you.