Remember that movie He's Just Not That Into You? It's actually based on a 2004 self-help book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo and turned into a film of the same name in 2009. However, the phrase first appeared in a 2003 episode of Sex and the City ("Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little"), where Carrie Bradshaw's then-boyfriend, (Jack) Berger offered unfiltered to advice to her friend, Miranda, about a guy she was dating. It was a revelation.
Are we in a “relationship”?
While the self-help title has gone on to be coined as a no-nonsense guide to understanding men, there are a number of other resources that exist to help explain why it's so easy for some men to walk away from a relationship. But before I get into that, I would like to preface this article by clarifying the word "relationship". Merriam Webster defines the word as "the way in which two or more people, groups or countries, etc., talk, behave toward, and deal with each other"; "a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings; a romantic or passionate attachment".
The reason I chose to insert this definition here is because men often scurry around this word, as did my former lover when I asked him if a particular woman that had surfaced during the course of our affair was, "someone whom he was dealing with, sleeping with or in a relationship with," to which he replied, "No, I'm not in a relationship with her but she is someone I was dealing with." As if this wasn't the same thing.
Men often designate the term "relationship" for exclusivity in order to reserve the right to "deal with" whomever they choose, when the reality is that these words are synonymous. Whether or not a commitment has been explicitly communicated can be a convenient technicality for a man to fall back on, but I digress.
A more scholarly expression for the phrase he's just not that into you is known as relationship investment which combines psychological, sociological and communicative components. The investment model of relationships, as it is also referred to, examines three primary factors that influence the likelihood of commitment in romantic relationships: satisfaction level, quality of relationship alternatives and quantity of investment or size.
What makes a man invest in a woman?
Yes, of course good sex is one reason, but there are several other factors that contribute to one being invested in a relationship. According to Caryl Rusbult's model of investment, top indicators include the idea that the rewards of a relationship are greater than the costs (satisfaction), the caliber of other options (alternatives) and the amount of resources being put into the relationship (investments).
For romantic couples, rewards can include having someone to do fun things with, feeling connected on a deeper level and having a family unit. Costs may include having arguments, having to do additional chores around the house or having a partner who is hard to communicate with.
To maintain satisfaction in relationships, rewards need to outweigh costs.
How can you get your man to invest in you and your relationship?
Considering that relational satisfaction is a major drawing point for staying together, identify ways in which you can contribute to making both you and your partner more satisfied in the relationship. This is a great way of exchanging conversation for pillow talk that may just lead to a hot and heavy session in the sack, if nothing else. Otherwise, you could try asking your partner, "What can I do more to make you happy in this relationship?"
Understanding that it goes both ways, you can subtly remind your partner of ways you appreciate them while communicating what your needs are.
For example, if you desire more quality time but your boo is more into "paying the cost to be the boss", you could lead with this: "Babe, I love how you work so hard to take care of me, but it would mean a lot if we could have a date night next week." And if that doesn't work, then take a page from Beyonce's book (see above).
To get him to be more invested in the relationship, become the MVP (Most Valuable Partner)
The investment model suggests that over time, individuals will seek outside "investment opportunities'' when they become unhappy at home. Your goal is make sure your partner not only wants you but, to a certain degree, needs you. That's right, in order to be valued, you must be an asset to your partner. This dynamic is most evident in traditionally heterosexual relationships in which the man (husband) is responsible for bringing home the paycheck while the woman (wife) uses the money to care for the home.
From a financial perspective, when partners enter into a business relationship, one party will typically have a set of duties they are responsible for and vice versa for the other partner. In this way, the relationship is mutually beneficial for them both and they depend on each other to make it work.
In these terms, what makes a partnership desirable to an investor? The potential of an attractive return on the investment.
Will your relationship last?
By now, you may be assessing the status of your own relationship. And scientific studies aside, you can evaluate the status of your relationship by recognizing how much you and your partner are contributing to each other's needs. Is there a joint effort between the two of you? Or is one of you more generous than the other? Keep in mind that investments may look different depending on how you express your love for one another.
For example, words of affirmation like saying "I love you" may be something that you prioritize in the relationship while your partner prefers acts of service, such as making sure the bills are paid. It's important to recognize that people express love in different ways, but while these expressions look different, the efforts should be the same.
What does it all mean?
Although this model can't be used as a crystal ball to predict the future for each and every relationship, it has been successful in projecting whether couples will split or stay together in studies, ranging from seven months to 15 years long.
Investments often lead to more commitment in a relationship. Resources given such as time, money and affection can all be considered investments. People tend to invest in relationships that they have a favorable outlook on.
The size of an investment correlates with the level of commitment in that high investments are more difficult to walk away from. So, something like having children with someone may be more of an incentive for some people to stay. For other people, the amount of time, effort or emotion they give in a relationship influences their perception of that relationship. When you've invested more, it becomes more valuable to you.
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