By DAVE BOODA
This was previously published on The Male Blueprint.
First date, second date, kiss, have sex, meet the parents, move in, get engaged, get married, have kids.
This is the default for men and women living today in the United States (other countries may vary). Why is this our default? Mostly because of Disney movies. That’s how we were programmed as a kid and that’s what we assume as adults. We unconsciously mold to this model, even when it’s not what we intended. Sometimes we meet girls and don’t want a relationship. What’s an honest man to do?
The secret is proactive communication.
Most people don’t communicate what they want. When no one communicates, everyone assumes the Disney default. When the Disney default takes effect, expectations come into the picture. Expectations, especially the ones that are not discussed are certified relationship killers. There is so such thing as a person having “no expectations”, it doesn’t exist. Even if we don’t think we have expectations, we have been conditioned by society to expect some things, and those will come up whether we like it or not.
I have a practice that I love for having this discussion with potential partners. Once I see that a girl and I may be heading to hook-up town, I slow things down. I ask her, “What could we create together that would be a total home run for you?” If I’m discussing it in terms of what could happen that night I’ll ask her the same question but phrased a little differently: “What could we do together tonight that would make you totally blissed-out happy tomorrow morning?” Then I leave the answer to her. Many women have never been given this kind of freedom, and it’s often amazing to watch them bask in the power of choice. When she answers, I listen, and consider if what she desires is something I am willing to get on board with. If it’s a yes, we proceed, if a no, I will share what parts I can get behind and offer my own version for her to decide.
The key to not screwing this up as a man is you can’t listen to what she says then try and steer it toward sex. As a man, you have to genuinely want the best experience for this woman, and if you’re too caught up in trying to get laid because it will make you feel better, no one wins. That doesn’t mean that if she suggests sex you shouldn’t say yes, it means you can’t expect her to want to have sex. She might reach into her closet for her bag of sex toys, she may suggest giving each other massages, she may want to cuddle on the coach and watch a movie, she may just want to relax into the space of not having to do anything because you gave her the gift of being able to choose. What if this woman had been abused in the past and never thought she had the ability to choose her level of sexual intimacy with a man? By asking what she wants and actually caring what she says, you may have served her in the most powerful way you could imagine, just by the two of you doing nothing.
Another benefit to proactive communication is the lack of resentment afterwards. What happens when a guy and girl get together and there’s no discussion about what they want to create? Disney default. Both the guy and the girl may not want anything to do with that, but because it wasn’t communicated, it expected. What happens when we have hidden expectations? Resentment. Bad news bears. On the other hand, if a couple discusses what they want to create and both parties are a total “yes!” there can be no resentment afterwards because everyone was clear about why they were doing this in the first place.
What can we create together that would be a total home run for you? This one question could change your life.
The Good Men Project is a cerebral, new media alternative to glossy men’s magazines. Founded by Tom Matlack in 2009, it’s become a social movement: an ongoing in-depth discussion asking “what does it mean to be a good man in these modern times?” Proceeds from The Good Men Foundation are used to support organizations that help at-risk boys.
This article originally appeared at GMP: