I have a super over-active mind. This serves me well when I’m organizing my life, being creative, or coming up with Stranger Things fan theories, but when it comes to my dating life, it’s kind of a massive drainer. Over time I’ve come to realize that dissecting every detail rather than taking things at face value has gotten me nowhere. Ladies, it’s time to be frank and just ask the guy what you want to know.
How to ask a guy where you stand
It’s as simple as blurting out the words, really, but if you want a chance of the conversation being a positive one, here are a few tips to follow.
Don’t beat around the bush. Guys really aren’t into the whole dropping hints thing. If you have a question you want to ask him — and in this case, you clearly do — then just spit it out. “Women can be made to feel like that makes them seem ‘too demanding,’ but it’s better than wasting time on someone who isn’t planning any future with you,” says dating expert Matthew Hussey.
Don’t agree to something you’re really not into. One of the worst things you can do is ask where you stand, be told that he’s just “going with the flow” and loving “keeping things casual,” and then just go along with it in order to not rock the boat/end up on your own. If you’re not into “just having fun” for now, take this as a sign to walk away now.
Come from a place of logic rather than emotion. Yes, you have feelings for him, but wanting to know where you stand is more about sorting the logistics of your day-to-day life. If he’s not on the same page as you, you’d like to know ASAP. “If they give signs of wanting to keep it casual, be matter of fact about it and say: ‘I’m not really into the casual hook-up thing. If that’s what you’re after, that’s cool, but it’s just not my style,'” advises Hussey. “This lets them know what your expectations and standards are, and it separates you from the other people they may be casually seeing.” Also, don’t start freaking out on him (with tears or shouting!) if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for. That’s not going to help anyone.
Be thoughtful about your timing. While you don’t want to waste too much of your time, you also don’t want to jump the gun and force the guy to commit to an exclusive monogamous relationship with you after two or three dates. You’ll know in your gut when the time is right, but you’re more likely to find him on the same page as you once you’ve really given things time to blossom.
Don’t act like you’re in a relationship when you’re not. When you feel like things are going well, it can be tempting to treat him as if he’s already your boyfriend and you’re his girlfriend, but unless this is what you’ve agreed on — and if you’ve yet to have “The Talk,” that obviously hasn’t happened — restrain yourself. Don’t skip over asking him where you stand, either. “What’s really interesting about the relationship talk is that a lot of people these days, especially online and app daters, don’t feel that they need to do it,” says dating coach Laurel House. “That leads to a lot of confusion.”
Put a time limit on waiting. If he tells you that he likes you but that he’s not quite at the point of wanting to be in an exclusive relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your connection is doomed. “
Don’t try to change his mind. If where you stand in his life is a place you don’t want to be, not only should you not stick around waiting for him to change his mind, you shouldn’t try to force the issue yourself. Have enough self-respect and back yourself enough to accept his answer as-is and realize that he’s clearly not the one for you. “You have to be okay with them saying they’re not there yet,” House says. “And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you.”
Why you need to know where his head is sooner rather than later
Waiting for him to define the relationship is BS. It’s 2017, he’s not automatically in charge. If you’re confused about what you are to him, why should you wait for him to bring up the conversation? You’re investing yourself emotionally and physically in this situation, so you have equal entitlement to open the discussion of where you’re headed.
It’s a waste of time. I cringe at the number of hours I’ve wasted obsessing over finding answers in my dating life. Honestly, think of all the productive, fun things you could do instead of Instagram stalk the girl whose photo he liked. Not only that, but think of the time you’ll save being upfront in the beginning if the guy was never planning on being serious with you in the first place. Both he and you should respect your time, and being honest is the quickest way to ensure you’re not investing it in the wrong place.
Everyone behaves differently. You can’t make assumptions on what someone is thinking or feeling based on the behavior of other people. Everyone interprets and responds to situations their own way. Just because you toil over whether to start your text with “hi” or “hey” doesn’t mean his “how are you?” has as many interpretations as John Mayer has ex-girlfriends. Comparing him to yourself, your ex-boyfriends or Noah from “The Notebook” is an exercise in futility.
He can’t read your mind. You might think he knows how you feel, which is why you’re frustrated that the definition of your relationship is vague. But have you stopped to think he’s not really sure where he stands with you either? Men aren’t complicated and he’s certainly not pinning the subtle hints you’ve dropped on a string board like a detective. If you want him to know how you feel but have been playing it cool, you may actually have to be forthright with him.
You’ll drive yourself crazy. Obsessively checking your inbox, creeping through Instagram activity, keeping track of when he’s online and isn’t—does it actually feel good? Trolling over every breadcrumb he’s left on social media isn’t going to give you a definitive answer about how he feels. If you crave your next cyber stalk or text message like crack, you’ve got yourself a problem. Before you go insane, go find something else to do besides anticipating bings and vibrations from your iPhone.
Over-analysis can breed amongst friends. It’s helpful to get a second opinion on an outfit, but not so much on decoding a guy. Once you open the topic to a forum, you’ll have more theories than an Illuminati chat room. And while you’re investigating his behavior more throughly than the team on CSI, he’s busy doing normal human being things. I love good girl-talk, but keep the obsessing to fun topics, like that picture of Orlando Bloom kayaking naked.
Instincts are great, but assumptions aren’t. Following your gut is a good stand-by, but be aware your judgment can be skewed if you’ve been sucked into the over-analysis vortex. If you’ve created your own reality by examining, deducing and finding meaning in every situation, it’ll crumble eventually. You’ll either make yourself paranoid and assume the worst, or even more damaging, combine your investigation findings to determine he’s really into you, even though he may not be.
If he spooks, he’s not worth it anyway. At the end of the day, the worst thing that can happen is he’ll bolt under the pressure of the “what are we” conversation. And if that happens, isn’t it better you know he’s not serious about you sooner rather than later? If he’s potentially boyfriend material, he’ll at least be open to having the talk, even if the first discussion doesn’t result in a relationship. Unless you really are jumping the gun, in which case you need to know…
When not to ask. I’m all for taking charge and being upfront about how you feel, but there are limits. If you’ve only hung out a few times and suddenly start insisting he define the relationship, you might as well tattoo “thirsty” on your forehead. If you’ve been constantly investing your time and energy in a guy, you absolutely have the right to ask where you stand. But it’s also important to know when to put the phone down, chill the hell out and just live your life. While it’s still green, just let nature take its course.
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