Last month’s article, "He’s Amazing and Still Single! Why?", described a group of highly eligible, attractive, and socially skilled men who, in spite of the fact that they date great women, remain single year after year.
The women who date these men also have common traits. They are often educated, attractive, confident, and socially skilled women. They are patient, kind, good listeners, and willing to do their part in relationships. They don’t react dramatically or inappropriately. They’re not excessively nagging. They are quick to read books on relationships and apply what they learn. And they don’t have many undesirable issues in their past.
Thus, these men often describe the woman they’re dating as “perfect.” Unfortunately, they often follow this up with, “But I just don’t feel an emotional connection."
What is going wrong? Is it her, him, or both of them together? How do these amazing women help these men to feel an emotional connection? If these men can’t commit to such wonderful women, then what hope is there that these men will ever marry, and what will become of these great women who, despite their best efforts, remain single year after year, too?
He needs to be the hunter, not the hunted.
One of the first things I teach women in this situation is that it works best for both of them if he is the pursuer of the relationship. This means he needs to initiate phone calls (and texts) three to four times more often than she does. He needs to ask to see her (which allows him to miss her and seek her out) rather than her dropping by his work, popping in to see him, or asking when they’re getting together. He needs to ask her to be exclusive rather than her immediately seeing only him and assuming that he feels the same.
To encourage and keep him in the pursuit role, I recommend that women use their warmth, femininity, appreciation, kinds words, and touch as positive reinforcements of the things he does, rather than giving gifts, making meals, or offering to pay for dates. Once she has done her part, she needs to sit back, relax, and trust that he sees what she has to offer and that he will pursue her and invest in the relationship.
He needs to sacrifice to feel love and have fun to feel connected.
The more deeply he sacrifices the more deeply he loves and making physical sacrifices (like phone calls, picking her up for and paying for dates, doing things for her, and meeting her needs) are things these men are willing to do. All he wants in return is to enjoy her company and have fun. As a matter of fact, he needs to just relax and have fun for at least the first two to four months if he is to develop a strong emotional attachment.
Once he begins to worry about: 1) what she is feeling or thinking, 2) if she is too into him or too anxious for commitment, or 3) if she is hurt and disappointed by his slow (but consistent and persistent) efforts to pursue her, then he will feel anxious and even trapped.
It’s not that he wants out of the relationship. It’s that pressure for commitment causes him to analyze very closely what he’s feeling (or not feeling) and anxiety impedes his ability to have spontaneous positive emotions. When he is having fun these complicating emotions are kept to a minimum.
They need to fight the pressure together.
Pressure and anxiety are inevitable in all relationships, but a woman can talk with him about the situations that cause him to feel pressure (i.e., meeting the family, going to work parties, holding hands at church) and express a willingness to come up with solutions together to fight the pressure—because she isn’t the problem and he isn't the problem—the pressure is the problem.
She doesn’t need to take the pressure away. She just needs to show him that together they can reduce the pressure, which will also deepen their emotional attachment to each other, versus him trying to reduce the pressure on his own by withdrawing from her and the relationship.
They need to resolve her feelings and needs together, too.
If a woman does not express her feelings and needs to him with positive solutions that will resolve the situation, she will begin to feel stressed, alone, and impatient with the slow-moving reality of their relationship. (Consequently, she will be more likely to push for commitment or break up.)
All men are repelled by criticism and nagging, but a man does value and appreciate when a women expresses her feelings and needs while also communicating her faith in his goodness. He wants to help, he just doesn’t know what to do unless she tells him and explains how much it means to her. To do this, she can simply state that just as they’re fighting the pressure together, she needs the two of them to work together to make her feel more secure in the relationship. She can then give examples of what he could do that would help resolve her fears.
The more the two of them work on these combined issues, the more deeply they will feel bonded. This is a more useful conversation and goal for them to work on together than her talking about when they are going to get married and what’s wrong with him or her that he feels like withdrawing every time the conversation comes up.
With a secure attachment in place and a pattern of resolving problems together, it will be easier for both of them to feel more secure and connected, and as such more inclined to more forward with marriage.
To learn about the additional complicating factors that contribute to this pattern, and to listen to a one-hour audio in which I discuss this pattern (and what singles can do to break it) with three men and four women who struggle with it, visit itsyourtechnique.com. There you can also get instant access to FREE dating advice, articles, audios, and videos from Alisa Goodwin Snell. Her love-changing theories and techniques will make dating easy and fun.
Alisa Goodwin Snell is a licensed marriage and family therapist and dating coach with 17 years of experience. Alisa is the author of the “It’s Not You—It’s Your Technique” dating system.