Modern dating. How perplexing, right? I mean, as if it's not enough to swipe, scroll, search, and stalk your way into oblivion. Yet, now, the lines of monogamy are even more vague than ever. I'd be remiss to say I haven't seen a former English Lit professor posting old photos to attract younger women. Coachella 2012? Try Woodstock '69. You can't disenfranchise an Instagram filter.
But if there's anything I've learned from matchmaking, it's that women aren't as crazy as society makes them seem, and men want love just as much as women do. That being said, commitment is a big word. Especially for men.
So, over dinner I asked my very own ordinary man-slash-human-rock, Michael, "What made you commit?" He laughed. I have a penchant for casting bizarre questions, and he's got a knack for responding well.
Because our conversation was so much fun, I had it nine more times with friends across the country. This article comes to you at the axis of my personal and professional relationships. We're always thinking about you over here, folks. Come visit. I'll feed you.
HOW TO CULTIVATE COMMITMENT
1. GET YOUR SHINE ON
Damona Hoffman, Certified Dating Coach and TV Personality in Los Angeles, CA, kicks us off with a healthy dose of male-mind wisdom: “In today's world, men don't want to feel like they are the only important element in your life. That's a lot of pressure. Having other interests and passions in life will make the time you spend together more special.” Having your own personal fan club was so 90’s anyway.
"Women I work with are often convinced that in order to get a man to commit, they’re supposed to dim their light. But men aren’t intimidated by a woman’s success. In fact, men are turned off by competitive women who challenge their every thought, idea, suggestion or plan they have,” adds Dr. Sharon Cohen, Relationship and Love Consultant in Newport Beach, CA.
So make shine your favorite color, ladies. But don’t try so hard.
2. LET HIM CHASE YOU
“Men are biologically wired to chase, but I see many women in my practice who approach dating from a scarcity mindset and think, "If this man goes away, there might not be another," or if you are feeling the ticking biological clock you might think, "If we break up, I'll have to start all over." So they become the aggressor in the relationship which makes men want to run away,” says Damona.
Leo Melendez, Business Strategist & Online Trainer in Miami, FL, adds, “It may seem like that's what men want... initially. But, trust me, it never works in the end.”
“People do not tend to value that which comes too easily."
"A man cannot pursue you if you're so busy pursuing him, so you first have to stop doing all of the work yourself, and then adopt the mindset of the "queen" and allow him to do that instead. The more that he invests into your relationship, the more he will start to see you as the one and only woman that he'd be ecstatic to be with for life,” says Broderick Boyd, Magnetize the Man Expert in San Diego, CA.
Now, the mindset of the ‘queen’ does not mean ‘let the man do all the work.’ The best relationships we see at Tawkify demonstrate reciprocity. Now, the effort is not always directly parallel, but equally meaningful nonetheless.
3. SHOW THAT HE CAN TRUST YOU
The greatest thing about a long-term relationship? “Having one person in the world you know you can trust,” Damona shares. “Stay consistent with your behavior, and make sure you do what you say you're going to do, and be transparent about your feelings to keep the trust between you strong,” she advises. Tripp Kramer, Dating Coach for Men, agrees. “A man will stay committed when he can trust his partner.”
Although spontaneity can be white hot and passionate, it’s fleeting and isn’t needed to build healthy long-term relationships. Consistency and transparency are honest values that can be hard to come by in the dating world -- so, naturally, when we spot them, we're all about it.
4. ENCOURAGE HIS POTENTIAL
I often meet women that are hard-pressed to never settle for anything less than a ‘complete’ man, but then confess they are works in process themselves. That’s a little unfair. Don’t you think?
And Justin Patrick Pierce, Teacher of Spiritual Intimacy in Los Angeles, beautifully echoes this sentiment, saying "As a conscious man interested in growth, when a woman is able to see me better than I can see myself, and willing to hold me to a standard above and beyond my own, she becomes a gift that I cherish. If a woman is inspired by the direction of my life path and lovingly devoted to be a muse of inspiration in my pursuit of it...
...letting her radiance, nurture, and wisdom be the wind that fills the sails of my ship – my relationship becomes about something far more than romance alone.
...It becomes the most important thing in my life because through it, I experience it all: love, purpose, and growth. One of the three is fine, but all three, I cannot deny."
It’s true what they say: love makes the world go ‘round!
5. YOU’RE HIS BEST FRIEND
To him, being with you is like listening to Queen’s Greatest Hits, but better.
“A man will commit when he feels a deep connection with a woman that he doesn’t feel with anyone else; when he finds a lover who is also his best friend that makes him feel special and unique,” Tripp says.
Michael Gargiulo, CEO of VPN.com and my own partner in crime, agreed over dinner, saying “I knew I wanted you when I could be just be myself - quirks and all. I know I’m weird, but you totally embrace that.” And he’s right. If you can’t let his freak flag fly, you gotta say goodbye.
Ceasing stream of consciousness now. Moving on.
HOW TO SUSTAIN COMMITMENT
1. PRACTICE PROACTIVE GRATITUDE
Ok, this is probably my favorite, but bear with me here as I was the gal that got into college by writing a long-form essay on Optimism.
Jason Silver, The Dating Coach for Ambitious Leaders based in Chicago, IL, and his wife exchange one thing they’re grateful for about each other at the end of every day. “It's important to be proactive with gratitude so we don't take our partners for granted. What we focus on gets bigger. When we focus on what upsets us in our partner, we become more critical. When we focus on what we love about our partner, we become more loving.” Precious, and so true.
I’m going to call this one “PPG” (yeah, you know me).
2. SPEAK HIS (LOVE) LANGUAGE
“Are you aware of your partner's love language? Dr. Gary Chapman's book on the 5 Love Languages describes five ways that we give or receive love. Words of affirmation. Acts of service. Quality time. Gift giving. Physical touch. Understanding your partner's and your own preferred love languages can help you to make sure that you are continually giving and receiving the love you need,” says Jason.
I highly recommend taking the love language quiz for yourself. It’s free, only takes 10 minutes, and gives you a lot of insight about who you are and what you command in a relationship.
3. TAKE CHARGE WITHOUT BEING BOSSY
“Women have more power than they sometimes know how to use..."
...Leo says. "I remember my grandmother being the ruler of the family and everyone knew it. She wasn't a feminist or a ‘Lady Boss’... she was simply a confident woman who was the spiritual leader of her family. She used her feminine advantage to guide all final decisions and outcomes. My advice: use your natural inner powers. No need to resort to the modern versions of "power grab"... just be your feminine self and you'll be in charge (as you should be).”
To break down Leo’s advice even further: taking charge with your femininity essentially means embracing Omega and ruling with your right brain; by being compassionate, understanding, calm, and receptive.
4. KEEP HIM INSPIRED
Justin professes, "I remain committed because she continues to nourish me through her radiance and helps guide me with the wisdom of her heart's truth. Each day, she inspires me to show up: more conscious, stronger, more daring, and more in alignment with the man I am destined to become."
"She holds the weight of this life and relationship with me, humorously, lovingly, and ferociously. Her patience is something I revere. Her fierce free-flowing heart's truth is something I worship. She is my compass. Through her I become the man I must before I die."
"And all along the way, we laugh, make love, tease one another, and endlessly create together. Yes to this... forever."
Mic drop. Inspired much?
5. MAINTAIN THE POLARITY
Dr. Sharon says, "Men stay committed to a relationship where the sexual polarity remains. The sexual energy, attraction, and intimacy don't fizzle out due to disrespect, competition, mothering, smothering or babying. Of course, sexual attraction is a must. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have asked you out. Beyond that, a man commits to a woman whose feminine essence spiritually uplifts him, transforms him, and with whom he wants to be a better man. He must believe she respects him, supports him, and will remain loyal to him."
Damona adds, “The only reason to stay in a partnership is because it makes your life better. Through a combination of emotional, spiritual, and physical support, a long-term relationship will continue to thrive.”
… and when all else fails, remember: timing is critical. “Why a man commits can be difficult to determine. We know that when he does commit it has a physiological effect of him including a decrease in testosterone. If he has things he wants to accomplish, he may choose not to allow this happen. In other words, it appears that timing has a lot to do with it,” says Dawn Maslar, Love Biologist in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
So, there you have it. Just in time for Fall, a cornucopia of perspective from some of the best and brightest love experts across the country. Take what you will, and remember, when the right man comes along, it won't feel like work to make him commit or stay committed.