Do I Need to Keep Mirroring After He Is My Boyfriend?
I’ve read a lot of your articles, your ebook, and other books you suggest on your website (including Dr. Pat Allen). I’ve also reviewed material from some of your colleagues who appear to have similar philosophies, such as Rori Raye and Ali Binazir. After taking all of this in, there is still one thing I’m confused about, and it has to do with the period where the dating stage ends and the relationship stage begins. During the dating stage, we learn to mirror, lean back, observe, and to be open to receiving rather than giving. We don’t want to over-function or give too much. We don’t want to try to control things or push things along. This way we can evaluate a man’s intent, his level of interest and his ability to lead.
Then enter relationship stage. During this stage we begin to see one another’s flaws and decide whether to accept or reject them. We learn how important communication is. We are excited and want to express our deep feelings and desire for a future. We learn that love is accepting someone’s flaws (as long as they are not unethical, immoral or abusive) and putting someone else’s needs before your own.
So my question is: if you are in a relationship and wish you were getting “more” from the other person — more time together, a higher priority ranking in his life, faster timeline, etc. — is it better to just step back, be patient and refocus on myself, or give more of myself to him and put some of my own needs aside in hopes of him someday doing the same? —Elyse
Thanks for taking the time to write, and, more importantly, for synthesizing all this material to ask an informed question.
I’m going to answer you, briefly, and also use this as a springboard to clarify the concept of mirroring, which seems to have taken on a life of its own since I described it in “Why He Disappeared”.
There are no “games” when you’re in a relationship.
So, yes, you seem to have a good understanding of the courtship process. Guy asks you out. You say yes. He takes you on the date. You thank him for his generosity. He kisses you at the end of the night. You kiss him back. He follows up with a text to say he had fun and wants to see you again. You reply accordingly. Each step of the way, he’s making an effort, and you’re responding quickly with appreciation and enthusiasm. This is mirroring. Men reveal themselves in their efforts, and if their efforts lag, despite the fact that you had a great connection, he doesn’t earn the right to become your boyfriend.
Now, say you’ve been on 6 dates. You’ve gotten to third base. He says he wants to take down his profile and focus on you. You agree. You sleep together. You’re now boyfriend and girlfriend. Congratulations.
You are in a sexually exclusive relationship and you have a good two years to figure out if you actually want to marry each other.
As you said, “During this stage we begin to see one another’s flaws and decide whether to accept or reject them. We learn how important communication is. We are excited and want to express our deep feelings and desire for a future. We learn that love is accepting someone’s flaws (as long as they are not unethical, immoral or abusive) and putting someone else’s needs before your own.”
It is during this time that the masks come off and people reveal their true character. The guy who was charming at the beginning becomes aloof. The guy who was eager becomes lazy. The guy who was intoxicated by you becomes critical. The truth eventually comes out.
There are no “games” when you’re in a relationship. There’s not even classic “mirroring”. He’s your boyfriend! You want to call him, call him! However, you shouldn’t NEED to remind your boyfriend that you’re alive. This is one of the things that often happens with readers who continue to mirror well into their relationships.
“We’ve been together five months and we have plans this Friday night, but I’m not sure what to wear. Should I call him?”
It’s your job to state your needs. It’s his job to meet them. And if he doesn’t, it’s your responsibility to terminate the relationship.
DO YOU WANT TO FIX YOUR BROKEN MAN-PICKER?
YES! There’s a huge difference between a text that says: “What should I wear to your parents’ house on Friday?” and “I haven’t heard from you in six days. How come you’re avoiding me?” One is basic communication, the other is weak and needy.
If he’s your boyfriend, he should want to make you happy. It’s your job to tell him how to do so — he’s not a mindreader.
So, yes, you can absolutely, positively tell him, “Hey, Jim, you know what would really make me happy? If you called me each night before you went to sleep. Can you do that for me?” If he puts up a big protest, it says a lot about his desire to make you happy. You asked a reasonable question that requires very little effort. He should want to make that effort to preserve your union. Similarly, you should easily be able to say, “Can you give me a few days notice before we have plans for the weekend, so I can prepare?” or “It’s cool that you have a busy life, but I don’t want a once-a-week booty call; I want a boyfriend who makes me a priority. You can understand that, can’t you?”
It’s your job to state your needs. It’s his job to meet them.
And if he doesn’t, it’s your responsibility to terminate the relationship. It’s not his job to let you know that he won’t give you more effort.
That last line alone should save you YEARS of wasted time. If your intern isn’t performing, you have to let him go.