I think it's safe to say that you feel my pain if you've ever encountered men who wanted to casually date you instead of viewing you as a woman who they can give a title to. To be honest, this treatment falsely affirmed in my mind that no matter what I would do, the only guys who would want me would be the ones who craved immediate and short-term attention instead of men who liked to plan surprise dates for their girlfriends, brag to their friends about shopping for engagement rings, or write the sweetest messages to their women they nicknamed their "other half".
My constant disappointment led me to think about the ways I could start preparing myself for the one who would want to become committed to me—which I eventually did—and what behaviors I would have to change in order to stay out of the casual friend zone. Here are ways I changed the tone of what I wanted in my love life for the better.
Get comfortable in having uncomfortable talks.
Oftentimes, the miscommunication in thinking that I was the "fun girl" instead of the "ideal woman" was because I got afraid of asking the important "where do we stand or where do you see this going?" questions to men I really wanted to be in a relationship with. So how did I get past this?
I had to give myself permission to be content with any man that didn't value long-term commitment and consistent communication. If I found myself asking questions such as, How come we never go out on dates? Why do I only hear from him weekly instead of every other day? Why doesn't he express himself to me? What about me makes him flirty and physically attracted to me but never emotionally available for me?, then I knew it was time to ask for honest answers.
I didn't always get the answer I wanted, and girl, nobody likes rejection. Hearing I liked someone way more than they liked me felt like someone added extra gratuity on a tab that I didn't see coming. But, was it worth it to know the answers before I invested months or even years thinking that he would eventually change and wife me up? Absolutely! Becoming more comfortable asking these questions with the men I wanted to be with was a big timesaver instead of trying to break down the meaning of his mixed-signals to my girls every chance I got. At the end of the day, words can sometimes be just words, so I knew I had to take this a step further to really get more results from the men I pursued.
Master the art of studying habits instead of words/actions.
My rule of thumb is to trust habits over words and actions. Serious question, how many talks about a guy's behavior was I going to have with him? The more I started observing the things he was consistent in doing, such as texting me only at night or while he's at work, the conversations that interested him, the activities/places he was consistently talking about going, or how he treated me when I was and wasn't around him, a lot of things made sense. I made the choice to take off the rose-colored glasses and get my answers in studying his behaviors. A man who is looking for a woman to be committed to will show it in his daily actions, habits, and movements.
Habits are a part of who we are. It's much easier to trust a person who repeatedly shows you how they feel, versus someone who just throws in a few words or a few actions here and there. This also meant the same for me, I made sure my actions matched my "I want to be a girlfriend" language.
Stick to people, places and things that mirror what I wanted.
Instead of complaining about why I can't find a man, I started to spend more time doing things that would attract the right kind of men. I took myself out on dates, went to the gym, and embraced hanging around my friends who had successful relationships. I didn't want to be bitter about not having the man of my dreams, because why should the next person take on my emotional baggage from my previous dating life?
As much as I could, I avoided the guys who actively looked for one-night stands, stopped talking to my exes who wanted situationships, and any other people or hangout areas where I knew I would be wasting my time. I sought becoming a walking brand that demonstrated I am more than worthy for a great man and I'm not interested in being anyone's friend with benefits.
Getting treated like the queen you are can be a real struggle, but it's not impossible. Hopefully, these strategies that I used for myself can help you narrow down the kind of man that is looking for the same qualities as you are.
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