The truth is, however, that men don't necessarily have the market cornered when it comes to keeping their intentions under the table. Women are quite capable of their fair share. My belief is that the most common brand of dating trickery proffered by women tends to fly under the radar a bit easier, however, and therefore is hardly ever (if at all) called out. Since women are a bit more subtle about all of this, I'm going to focus the majority of this newsletter on understanding their side of the equation. After all, male trickery is altogether too obvious - which continues to cause me sheer amazement at how often women fall for it.
So what about the women? What do I mean?
Here it is. Just like men try to trick women into sleeping with them way too early in the relationship, women tend to try to trick men into exclusive commitment way to early.
It's absolutely true.
And a woman has the ability to equip herself with a formidable set of tools when it comes to this stuff. Just like a woman can find herself in a man's bed and wonder how she got there, a man can very easily find himself in an exclusive relationship he may not have been ready for, and with a woman who may not even have been his first choice!
How does she do this? Here are some examples of the tactics involved:
1) The UltimatumThis is the most objective approach. If a woman knows the man is interested, she will simply level an ultimatum. This may happen as soon as the woman realizes the man wants her sexually. In this case, the woman pulls every option off the table other than committing to her or walking away. This is unfair, of course, because it plays on a man's physical attraction in order to drive emotional involvement.
2) Extended PlanningShe'll buy tickets for a concert that's a month away. She'll invite him to join her for some killer party that's a few weeks (or months?) off. If she can get him to make some financial "buy in" (e.g. ticket price, renting a tux, etc.) then he'll be more likely to stay around. In fact, the concept of commitment based on financial involvement is a well-known marketing principle. Here, as in so many facets of dating, sales tactics translate directly into relationship strategy. Watch for a future newsletter (or how about a podcast?) on that one.
3) Common Secondary CommitmentsThis is something like "Extended Planning", but with a subtle difference. Here we are talking about ongoing partnerships rather than one-time events. She may sign them both up for six weeks of salsa lessons. They may join a dinner party group with other couples knowing that it would be a major embarrassment to have to sever ties in the event of a breakup. If she's really astute, she'll buy them season tickets for his favorite team - nice.
4) Marking TerritoryAs soon as a man invites a woman into his private domain, he opens himself up to the female ritual of "territory marking". If she's hanging out at his house and riding in his car, bear in mind the possibility that she may be interested in staking her claim to those places vis-a-vis other women in his life. Most of us know about the "perfume on the pillow" trick, where a woman sprays her perfume on a guy's pillow so he can "think of her" when he's sleeping. But that's just one of a myriad of ways that a woman can make it improbable, if not impossible, that another woman would feel comfortable in his home or car.
She can leave a change of clothes on his dresser, just in case. She can change shoes in his car and "accidentally" leave them behind the passenger's seat in the back. She can smear makeup in places he may not notice but another woman would be sure to. She can brush her hair in the bathroom, all but making sure strands of her hair land in places where other women might notice it. And my all time favorite - she might "forget" and leave her earrings on the end table in the living room (or some other place you'll never see until the next time guests are over).
Whatever happens, you can be sure if it's done right most guys will be potentially horrified to invite other women over (although they shouldn't be, which is the topic of some other future newsletter).
5) Key IntroductionsHe is introduced to all of her friends. He may even meet her parents, feeling like he's suffered whiplash given how sudden it was. She may even, if she's mastered the tactic, proactively seek to make friends with his friends. This is a particularly powerful approach that, if successful, means she has all but inextricably woven herself into his life. And if he ever tries to break up with her, imagine the effect of his own friends calling him to tell him how wrong he is. Out of hand.
6) GiftsShe may buy a guy something nice. Depending upon the limits of her personal resources, we may be talking about something really nice. Guys famously tend to use this tactic on women, thinking that they can buy their way into a woman's heart. Well, when a guy does something like this it generally backfires. Some women are creeped out by it, some women refuse nice gifts seeing potential ulterior motives behind them, and others simply take the gifts and offer only a "thank you" in return.
The interesting part, however, is that a woman who knows how men think with regard to this process can capitalize upon it to drive commitment from a man. Think about it'a man attempts to barrage a woman with gifts because he thinks it will help earn her affections. Why does he think like this? Simple. Because it would work on him. If a woman realizes this, she knows she has an angle with which she can get him to commit.
The problem is that although gift-giving works on a man, it's not for the expected reason. Rather than driving a warm-fuzzy nesting reflex, it just flat-out makes him feel guilty if he dumps her after getting such cool stuff from her.
So what's the common thread here? Not surprisingly, the end result is likely to be the same for tricksters of both the male and female persuasion. In either case, if the end goal is reached it's nothing more than an empty, Pyrrhic victory.
The moral to this story? Save the tricks, be up-front, take things at a mutually-acceptable pace - and have a symmetrical relationship based on depth rather than guilt or pressure.
Copyright 2006 X & Y Communications
Short note about the author
Want to hear more? Scot McKay is a dating coach in San Antonio, TX and founder of X & Y Communications, a one-stop-shop for dating resources. He may be reached on the Web at http://www.dating-advice.us
Author: Scot McKay