You Didn’t Lose The Person You Thought You Lost

You Didn't Lose The Person You Thought You Lost

You know what it’s like to get devastated when a promising new relationship doesn’t work out? Well, take heart – you didn’t actually lose ANYTHING.

In fact, you gained the freedom to find the person you ARE meant to be with.

It may not seem to be the case, but I want to point out to you that it’s a blessing when your dead-end relationship finally comes to a close…

A client of mine shared a story with me recently.

A lawyer in her mid-50s, Carol said that she’d gone out with this new guy three times.

He was older, divorced, and a real gentleman.

Unlike many men she’d met online, this man made a great effort each time.

He’d make plans in advance, email her in between dates, compliment her when he saw her, pay for everything, and talk about having a future together.

He was even a great kisser!

But one night while the new couple was fooling around on the couch, things got a little weird.

To avoid going too far, too fast, Carol (after some heavy petting), said what I told her to say when putting on the brakes:

“I also want you badly, but I only sleep with guys that I know I’m in a committed relationship with. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do a lot of other fun things together, but I don’t want the man I have sex with to be hitting on other women on tomorrow.”

The idea behind this is to let the man know that you ARE into him, but that you have just this one very reasonable boundary.

Generally, guys can understand this.

If he’s really into you, this is his chance to step up and become your boyfriend. If he’s not, this is a clear sign to get out.

Either way, it’s impossible for us to disrespect a woman who says she only has sex in a committed relationship. Even if we’re not getting our instant gratification met, it’s impossible for a man to find fault with a sexual woman who values herself.

A man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

Alas, Carol never heard from her guy the day after, or the day after that, or ever again. And when she started thinking, she started to get upset with me. After all, it was my advice that had killed her relationship. For all she knows, maybe if she would have slept with him, he would have asked her out again.

Uh uh. Nope. Fuhgeddaboutit.

Setting down boundaries for sex is a truth test – and this guy failed with flying colors.

I’m not suggesting that you “test” men. Not at all. But a man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

And this is why, despite her disappointment, Carol really shouldn’t be all that upset. Nor should you be upset if you ever set a reasonable boundary and the man walks away.

What’s a reasonable boundary?

Wanting to talk in between dates, making weekend plans in advance, committing to a relationship after three months.

If you suggest these in a reasonable way at a reasonable point in time and a guy refuses, then guess what?

He’s NOT the guy she thought he was. You didn’t lose your future husband. You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband. See, your future husband, when faced with the prospect of waiting for sex will do one of two things:

a) Decide that, yes, he does like you enough to be your boyfriend. He was just too afraid to push things that fast, but he’s glad you suggested it.

b) Decide that he’s not ready to commit yet, but he appreciates your respectable stance. You’ll both get semi-naked, have a little fun, and no hearts will be broken.

Your future husband does NOT:

c) Bail like a rat leaving from a sinking ship.

So if you’re worrying about why some guy disappears suddenly on you – without any reasonable explanation – the thing to know is this:

You didn’t lose your future husband.

You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband.

You’re OVERRATING that person’s character.

He is NOT a good partner for you.

Be GLAD that you learned that this person is not in it for the long haul.

Remember, despite all your bad experiences, there are good men out there – men just like you, who are wondering where to connect with you.

The only responsibility you have is to continue to make the effort to meet them.

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  1. 21

    Great post! I have gone too fast before and learned my lesson.   The time I went too fast and it did not work out, I was left feeling horrible.   While I still have some other things I am working on, I have come to value that part of me and want to share it with someone that values me as well.
    I so appreciate the male perspective on this.

  2. 22

    I actually love this post!   I believe in having this boundary.   I went out with a guy recently who tried on our first meet/date.   I said I had to take things slower and I never heard from him again.   I was wondering the same thing; if I had had sex with him that night, would  he have called?   I know you have to take the risk of getting hurt  but sleeping with someone too soon for me is upping the risk ante more than I am comfortable with.  

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Evan, for the reminder that getting out of a dead end relationship is a good thing.  

  3. 23

    Hey Selena (#18). You took the words right out of my mouth. 🙂 I also agree with several other posters in that I do not agree with her heavy petting with the guy, and then suddenly putting the brakes on due to the “commitment” issue. I think he lost respect for Carol because of the way she handled the situation. If commitment or exclusivity is of the utmost importance to you, then have an open and honest discussion about your boundaries after he makes his intentions known, but not half way to the bedroom.
    My boundaries are exclusivity and allowing enough time to pass to create a sense of trust, comfort and knowledge that he’s into “me” first and foremost. A “committed relationship” is not the same thing as exclusivity, as Selena pointed out. Honestly, I think that term is used too loosely because it means different things to different people, and it can easily get misconstrued.
    And what is the meaning behind “doing other fun things together?” Are these sex related things? If that’s the case, then what? It’s okay to do certain unmentionables, but not the deed? Heck. If you’re going to go that far, does putting off the deed really matter? Of course, other fun things could mean the typical dating fare, too.

  4. 24
    Katarina Phang

    I’d be very thrilled if I ever got the chance of wanting to have sex with a guy these days.   Just to reasonably like them enough to see them again is hard enough.

    I think in this case, she should have asked herself first:   how do I feel about this?   Am I ready to have sex with him?

    If yes, then she should have followed her heart knowing that sex might or might not lead to anything deeper.   Guys might disappear before or after sex, there is no guarantee either way.    So I also questioned what Evan really meant by “100% chance.”

    She should only have sex because she wants and enjoys it and it’s a part of getting to know him better.

    If no, then the answer is obvious.   Refrain from heavy petting or forewarn him before things go too far that she’s not ready for full intercourse.

  5. 25

    I wish it had  of been me  Evan gave this advice to  a few years ago fresh from a divorce and trying to date again.   She should have been grateful she DIDN’T give up the goodies.   He would have split anyway after it was all said and done.   His actions  was a clear indication of that.   She would of REALLY been disappointed and hurt had he actuallly nailed  then bailed.   As the saying goes………..Actions always speak the loudest.

  6. 26

    I wouldn’t put passion before principle.   If they walk, let ’em.

  7. 27

    If women shouldn’t expect commitment just because she is going out with a man, having a good time and connecting, it would be stupid for there to be a reverse expectation that just because a woman engages in heavy petting or kissing with a man that she is expected to go sleep with him. In the early stages of a relationship there are no promises to anyone in sex or commitment. No one is beholden to the other.

    So in this instance, a very rare one, I agree with Evan’s advice completely and his subsequent comments.  

    And on that note, I’d like to say something from BloggyDaddy who said:
    “Most of the guys I know talk about wanting one night stands and easy sex, but when push comes to shove, we would all rather have a woman put up some boundaries and make us wait or at least work a little more for it.   I start to feel like there are red flags if I go on a date and she wants sex that same night.   I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it; sometimes that’s more willpower than I’ve got, but it totally kills the idea that this could be relationship material.   There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally I’d rather wait if I really like her, it makes her more valuable in my eyes.”

    I know this is a common mentality with guys but it’s really an immature one too. It’s the stuff of high school boys. Not a man.  

    If you rather wait, then wait. Don’t make a woman your own personal moral gate keeper. No woman wants a man that can’t man up and make his own choices, stand up for what he really wants vs making the woman his scape goat to use her then blame her. Do I expect that you’ll really take my comment seriously? No, I have no doubt you will go right on making women your moral gate keepers while perversally punishing them for it at the same time when they give you exactly what you want. But the free pass you and other guys give yourselves while you condemn the woman that act like you is really strange and childish. And at the end of the day, this isn’t a man most women respect anyway. One that holds *her* accountable for how he acts. One that holds *her* accountable for his sexual lust then punishes her by saying “nahh you aren’t good enough for commitment”.

    1. 27.1

      Very true. At the end of the day these men will commit with a woman like Carol, who will make him her doormat. Men always will have what they deserve, a bitch who will make their life a hell.

    2. 27.2

      This!!!!!!! A+++++

  8. 28

    Actually I agree with your “advice” EMK – insofar as it is to set one’s own boundaries and make them clear to a potential lover. Also, I agree that it’s the women’s responsibility to determine whether the guy she has had x amount of dates with is interested in her, or just interested in having sex with her. But for me, dating one person at a time (exclusivity) IS NOT the same thing as commitment to being boyfriend/girlfriend. Off-line (and maybe even on-line for all I know) it is still very common for people to focus on dating only one person instead of a few/several at the same time.

    There is nothing wrong with waiting to have sex, but many adults find genital manipulation that doesn’t lead to climax very frustrating and certainly not the time to “put on the brakes” and have the “I want a commitment before we go any further” discussion. Blarney. Frankly, the consequences for women who try this timing could be much worse than the guy disappearing the next day.

  9. 29

    Hey listen, I got one who decided he didn’t want to talk to me just because I got a math question wrong.   Life goes on.   It’s all good…

  10. 31

    Evan, I know you made a dating career out of it. 😉 I guess my post wasn’t clear. I don’t disagree with your overall message to women. I’m not sure why you think otherwise. There’s absolutely no way I would sleep with a man three dates in, regardless of our “relationship” status. I wouldn’t even consider us to be in a relationship after just three dates. This is a boundary I established, well, almost before you were born. I can assure you, I’m not a, “let’s get it on three dates in” kind of woman.
    My issue with Carol’s situation was how the heavy petting more than likely sent a clear signal to the man that sex would follow. There’s nothing wrong with heavy petting without sex, if that is your interest, but I think this (and any other boundaries you may have) should be discussed “before” you find yourself in that kind of situation.
    And I’m sorry. But if I’m willing to provide oral sex, then I’m willing to have intercourse. Oral sex may not have the “attachment” effect, but it’s pretty darn personal and not something I’d do until we were exclusive and I knew he was into “me” first.

  11. 32

    Evan, I love you! Your words, “You didn’t lose your future husband, you lost the ILLUSION of your future husband,” really hit home for me. I am sitting here working on getting through a broken heart and reading what you wrote is helping me to put things in the proper perspective.

    Thank you for your insight and wisdom.

  12. 33

    You can’t control a man’s behavior. Sleeping with him on the third date or in the third month won’t guarantee that he will – or will not – be your boyfriend. If you can handle sex with no commitment, great, if not, then it’s better to wait.

    It seems to me that Carol was moving too fast for someone who wants to take things slowly. If she was expecting exclusivity and/or commitment by the third date, yet she wasn’t ready for intercourse, then she should have been pacing the physical intimacy more slowly. That would have given her more time to ascertain whether or not this “real gentleman” was really a nice guy and interested in a serious relationship with her without sexual feelings and heavy relationship questions clouding the issue too soon.

    1. 33.1

      I agree. I think it would have been easy to misinterpret her “heavy petting” as a green light to intercourse. I think the gentleman in question may have been more turned off by what appeared to be a sudden change in her interests.

  13. 34

    This is a wonderful post and an excellent reminder!   Thank you, Evan!

    Honestly, I am truly surprised by how many posters want to argue with Evan over this.   Really, this makes sense. There is a little subtlety of reasoning that you need to do, but nothing more than what you’d need in order to split the utility bill with your housemates.   Really.

    You can think of it in terms of economics:   when something is readily (easily) available (your sex), it will command a lower price (your value in his eyes). Plain and simple.   Economics can apply to relationships, particularly when two people have something each other wants.   From an economics point of view, you mentally create value in a man’s mind by waiting to have sex rather than having it sooner.   No, it’s not romantic, but it is true.

    I didn’t hear Evan once say that you should wait until three months to have sex or make a commitment.   What I did understand is that by three months, he   should have been able to get to know you well enough to decide whether or not he  is ready to commit or not.   In other words, if the guy you’re seeing isn’t ready to yank their profile by that time, it’s probably time to cut things off with him/her.   

    This is excellent advice!   I dated a guy that I had a lot of hopes for last fall.   I asked him if he was ready to date exclusively very early because I didn’t want to get hurt.   He agreed by taking down his profile and in two months we had sex.   However, even though he publicly took his profile down, he was still seeking out other dates and did this after we had sex without breaking up with me.   When I found out what he was doing, I was crushed.   Even though we weren’t together that long, it was really, really rough.

    Lesson to me:   I could have waited even longer, observed more, etc.   Slowed things down.   I don’t think it would have changed his behavior or the fact that we wouldn’t have ended up together.   But I ended up exposing myself to potential STDs and a whole lot of hurt.  

    The silver lining message of this article is not lost on me:   I didn’t end up marrying a cheating heartbreaker and I’m so much better off because our relationship ended.

  14. 35

    I, too, am not sure why you’re talking  about it being impossible to disrespect a woman for only having sex in a “committed relationship” and not an “exclusive relationship,” Evan. Doesn’t exclusive just mean you’re not dating anyone else at the current time, whereas commitment means you’re settling down for good? I’m particularly confused because I could swear I read a post of yours some time ago where you seemed to suggest  that a woman  shouldn’t make a guy wait till marriage to have sex.

  15. 36

    Evan, since I’m on a budget, I’d really like to know this: in your opinion, should I or should I not take my profile down before I become exclusive, committed, have sex, what have you? I have problems with this part, because to me, doing it before I get to know the man better (aka sex) sounds a lot like throwing $100 down the drain. Am I missing something? I know to a lot of people on here $100 is small change, but I’ve got a kid starting college in the fall and money is kind of important to me right now.

  16. 37

    Evan, I am not in disagreement with your message to women. It’s within my nature to have established boundaries and to not be fully intimate with a man three dates in under any circumstances. This is how I have raised my daughter. I also don’t find anything unethical or not normal, if a woman wants to do heavy petting without going all the way, though the term “heavy petting” is open to interpretation.
    I just thought that if this is a woman’s boundary, then this discussion should take place before their actions start to heat up, so that the man doesn’t feel misled. That’s all.
    As for whether exclusivity and a committed relationship are one and the same … IMHO exclusivity brings a commitment to dating only each other, but a committed relationship means not only dating exclusively, but also for several months, possibly living together, meeting friends and family, etc. If I am exclusive with a man, that doesn’t mean he’s going to receive the keys to the city before we find a trusting and comfortable milestone where I know he’s into me first and foremost. Typically, two to three months in. And that also doesn’t mean he’s not going to get to first or second base. I know that men need to feel encouraged. 😉

  17. 38

    Setting boundaries is great, but I’d be sure I said the word exclusive and seeing where things lead, rather than saying commitment, which could be miscontrued as knowing you want to be together longterm and having a ring on your finger – if I were a guy I’d freak over that too !   My two best friends are guys who are popular with women, and they tell me the same thing.   Women offer it up to them before the 3rd date, and while they don’t turn it down, they don’t put any value on it either.   Giving a man your body is not going to make him fall for you, no matter how good in bed you may be.   My friend told me to treat it like the “family jewels” and make the man work for it –  he’ll value you more, and you’ll know that he’s really interested in getting to know you, rather than just wanting the sexual relationship.   Course you don’t want to come across as a cold fish, but I think men can tell the difference.

  18. 39

    I’m a bit amazed at the furor erupting over Evan’s advice on this one.   Perhaps part of it is a semantics issue?   Heavy petting probably means different things to everyone.   To some, once hands touch something beneath the neck then it’s heavy petting.   For others, it’s 3rd base.   There’s obviously a big difference there in terms of how far a guy might reasonably expect to go before the brakes are put on, which would then affect how he would react to Carol’s statement.   So the heavier the petting, the better it is if the position on exclusivity has been made beforehand.

    That being said, most adults are starting to think about exclusivity by the 3rd date mark.   If you’re not enjoying the company and don’t think there’s potential, then rarely will date #2   (much less 3)   happen.   So I’m not saying that the people will have had the exclusivity conversation by that time, but individually they’re probably beginning to think about it.  

    Anyway, if the person you’re dating won’t wait for you, it’s not the right person (regardless of whether the wait is short or long).

  19. 40

    I think the writer (of the original question to EMK) was way too calculating about sex. She’s indicating that she’s thinking completely rationally *while* she’s ready to have sex w this man. That sort of calculation isn’t the kind of wholesale enthusiasm for sex that (I thought) a man wants from a woman. However, how do you know the chemistry’s going to fuel a relationship if you haven’t had sex yet ? Now that she’s said this, how does he know she’s not thinking of things like his level of income and how her friends will think about him- when it should be about him as a man ?
    By the way, my bf and I are both in our fifties, and both professionals. This means a much smaller dating pool, which means, to me- if there’s chemistry, you’re incredibly fortunate and should go for it.

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