Game, set, match. Roger Federer had, after a four hour and fifteen minute battle, won the 2009 Wimbledon crown against Andy Roddick for the third time. Watching Roddick graciously accept the second place Wimbledon platter not only reminded me of the sting of my losses on the tennis court, but of my numerous “almost” relationships that had never quite made it to the finals.
Like Roddick accepting the second place trophy again and again, I was reminded of the countless times I lost the first place trophy of girlfriend status to the guy I rashly assumed was my Mr. Perfect. Sound familiar to anyone? Are you tired of being the almost girlfriend? Do you feel doomed to the friend zone? Does fling after fling slip through your fingers? Well ladies, look no further; that first place “relationship trophy” is a lot closer than you think. (Thank goodness.)
George Washington University sophomore Georgina* says she first spotted her boyfriend at a party. “I met my boyfriend at my best friend’s birthday party last year; I had my eye on him ever since that night. We hooked up at the party, and fell into a summer hook-up,” says Georgina. “After we both went off to college, we continued to date casually. We didn’t even start officially dating until almost a year later.”
So how did she manage to turn her fling into a thing? “Don’t rush it,” she says simply. “Make sure that you have been together for a reasonable amount of time. You don’t want to bring up becoming more serious if you have only been together for a short time; it will definitely only scare him away.” Georgina says that communication with your partner is crucial; the “lets get serious” talk will only be effective when the timing is right. Don’t expect him to read you mind; let him know that you’re looking for the real deal, and deserve it, too. A man will respond to honesty; either he wants it too, or he doesn’t. If he’s into you, he’ll want to define the relationship and claim you for himself. If he wants to be more serious with you, he will be.
“It’s important to bring up the question of a relationship; if that’s not what he’s looking for, and he turns you down, you’ll be happy you got rid of him sooner rather than later,” says Georgina.
Jamie,* a senior at the George Washington University, said that she met her current boyfriend in her international business class. “I met my boyfriend in a class when we were put together during a group project. We talked a lot while we worked, and after a while we began walking back from class together almost every day. We soon began casually dating; this went on for a couple of months before we finally made it official.” Her key to success? “Giving myself the time to actually get to know him without jumping into anything was the best move I could have made, because I really knew what I was committing to by that time,” says Jamie.
Jamie’s advice is similar to Georgina’s; after several dates, you shouldn’t just put the relationship in question on hold. “The key to escaping the dating game is to re-evaluate your relationship and let your partner know that you are interested in taking it to the next level. Always think twice before jumping into a relationship.” If you’re looking to make the relationship into something serious, don’t allow yourself to fall into the role of a hookup; make sure your relationship is defined as more than a fling.
While the concept of the perfect man is a common dream, remind yourself that not everyone you meet is Prince Charming. You should regularly asses your relationship as it develops; you don’t want to tie yourself to the idea of the perfect boyfriend, because you’ll never be able to see a guy for what he really is, and what he can bring to a relationship. While you want to spend time together, get to know him, and have fun, make it clear to him that you’re there as a date, not a pal. Guys aren’t psychic; they often don’t get signals that seem blatantly obvious to you. Show him what a relationship with you would be like without pressuring him to make things official right away. Let him see you as someone to chase, to wine and dine, to fall for. If you make your intentions clear, there won’t be any confusion about what you’re looking for. That way, if he’s not into the idea of a relationship, he can move on and you won’t be under any illusions about why he’s there. If you’re both still into the idea of having a fling, great. But this way, you’ll eliminate the stress of constantly wondering where you stand with each other.
So ladies, you don’t have to keep accepting defeat like Mr. Roddick. While every fling you enter into doesn’t have to turn into a long-term relationship, be upfront and honest about what you want. Set aside that second place platter and go for that first place “relationship trophy” for a change; your victory is closer than you think, and he’ll appreciate you going for the gold.
Photo by Flickr user birterohden.
*Names have been changed.