Excerpt from “How to Marry a Mensch*: The Love Coach’s Guide to Finding Your Mate” (Fair Winds Press, 2006)
*Mensch: a decent, responsible person (male or female) your mother would love
Robin Gorman Newman has been a popular figure on the dating scene since the publication of her classic book, “How to Meet a Mensch in New York.” The latest from “The Love Coach” is a sequel of sorts, “How to Marry a Mensch,” which casts a wider net for mensch-hunters everywhere. Robin’s new book is full of sensible advice for women seeking a mate for life–in this excerpt, she advises not to get too chummy, too soon…
When you meet someone and have high hopes for romance, the last thing you want to do is become his best friend—meaning a pal, a buddy or “bud”—and not leave room for courtship and a little intrigue. Give him the opportunity to show his intentions. Is he really a mensch? How will you know if you don’t let him prove it?While you calling him is flattering and takes the pressure off him, the end result may not be to your liking. No guy wants to know from day one that he has a sure thing.
A bud makes herself readily available and puts herself out as a friend would, thinking that’s a good thing. You might be asking, “Why not reach out to a love interest via phone or e-mail? Why not hang out with him on a Friday night, even if he doesn’t call until the night before to make plans?”
Here’s why not: where do you go from there? It’s great to feel like you hit it off so well that you don’t hesitate to reach out to your potential MRM (Mr. Right Mensch), to chat, share, and to support him, but how exactly does this promote romance?
Let Him Take the Lead: Iris’s Story
One of my love-coaching clients, Iris, twenty-eight, often placed herself in this very situation. It was her standard approach to dating. Iris thought nothing of calling up a guy after a date to talk up a storm and even if they took turns calling each other, she was okay with being as much the initiator as he was.
After a number of months without seeing a relationship progress, Iris would question why things weren’t working out, but it never occurred to her that a contributing factor was her own behavior. She wasn’t able to get a clear read on the guy, because she didn’t permit him to be the pursuer. Most mensches prefer to be in that role. While you calling him is flattering and takes the pressure off him, the end result may not be to your liking. No guy wants to know from day one that he has a sure thing.
How to Go from Bud to Babe!
Be a babe—and a busy one. Be the woman he longs for. Seduce him with uncertainty, not just your looks. Make him come back for more. Let him wonder a little and know what it feels like to crave your company and not know for sure that he can count on it. Allow him to miss you by not accepting his every invitation, as hard as this may be.
Demonstrate that you have a life you love and that your free time is well spent. Show him you’re looking for the real deal, and don’t hang on his every word or be overly impressed with obvious gestures. It takes more than flowers or candy for him to prove himself, though that’s certainly a nice start.
A bud also tends to allow herself to be a “dumping ground,” so to speak. She becomes the listener and quasi-therapist if the guy has a tendency to talk about his life challenges—anything from his disappointing job situation to losing his hair. If you find that men often overly share with you from the beginning, and it feels like information overload, perhaps you are somehow inviting this type of discussion without realizing it. Maybe they sense that you’d be receptive to it. Do you, deep down, relish the idea of “saving” someone?
Now, you might be thinking, “But I want to be his best friend… a staunch supporter. Isn’t that a good basis for a relationship?” In the long run, yes, it is. But this needs to develop over time. If you start out as friends and are really there for each other, it’s certainly possible to transition to more. But if the friend or confidante part is overwhelming while you are first dating, you may never become lovers who stand the test of time. Sure, you may become intimate, but that doesn’t promise a commitment, especially on the guy’s part. A lot of men are very capable of enjoying a sexual relationship without buying the wedding ring! Since we are speaking of marrying a mensch, we would hope that he might be different, but mensches have libidos, too. He might tell you that he enjoys sex and appreciates you, but isn’t looking to settle down. In that case, you may respect his honesty, but where does it leave you, if your goal is marriage?
Before baring your soul or your body, give serious consideration to what you want from the person you’re dating. Don’t kid yourself. Decide if this is someone you can see yourself marrying. If so, then work on letting out the babe in you. Back-burner the bud approach and save it for someone whose company you enjoy, but whom you don’t see as marriage material. It’s okay if you’re both on the same page, but if your ultimate goal is to get a mensch to “close the deal” with a ring, you don’t want to waste too much time chilling with men who aren’t serious prospects. Oh, yes—never be the first to say, “I love you.” Let your mensch take the lead!Before baring your soul or your body, give serious consideration to what you want from the person you’re dating.
My mom always said, “You chase a man until he catches you,” meaning that you act just interested enough to whet his appetite so that he becomes the pursuer. This is smart advice…and my mom married a mensch. So think like a catch, and hopefully you’ll soon feel like one!
Read the Relationship Tea Leaves
There are always signs in a relationship that you may or may not choose to see. It’s time for a serious reality check! This exercise will help. First, make three columns across a sheet of paper: “Red Flags,” “Time Frame,” and “What Do I Want From Him?” Next, write down the names of men you’re currently seeing or considering. In the first (Red Flags) column, list anything that comes to mind about him that raises a red flag for you. In the second (Time Frame) column, write down how long you will give the relationship. For example, are you willing to give someone three to six months, if he is unhappy at work, to rewrite his resume and make a serious effort to find a new job? Then, in the third (What Do I Want) column, write down what you want from this guy. Do you want a future with him? Or is he a “boy toy” for now, so you can live with the red flags you’ve identified?
I promise that after you’ve finished this exercise, it will be clear where you stand with everyone on the list!