The Business of Love

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Dating Game: It's About Control

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Girl says, "He was afraid of commitment" in response to the failure of her last relationship. While there is some truth in this comment (and this is from the guy's perspective) I believe that this "Fear of Commitment" is a symptom of a larger issue; the desire for control in the relationship.


What do men want? Food and shelter rate pretty high, but control is pretty dang close. Men want to be in control of their life. They want to be the master of their own destiny. This is why dating and relationships cause men to develop this "Fear of Commitment".

Fear of Commitment

Here's the scenario: Guy asks girl on 1st date. Things go well so guy asks girl on 2nd date. Things seem okay again, so guy asks girl on 3rd date. Of course this is highly simplified, but the guy here is sending a clear message; he is interested. Now comes the frustrating phase where the girl is sending "signs" and our poor fella here is trying to figure out what they are and what they mean. The frustration arises from the loss of control. He has conveyed his interest by continuing to ask the girl out (if you girls can't figure that out you're more helpless than guys) and therefore has given control to the girl. She now must decide if she is interested in the guy enough to commit or just keep holding out to see if her feelings change or something better comes along.

Now most girls reading this are probably saying they wish it were so easy. They're right. It isn't that easy and here is my main hypothesis: Fear of commitment is a tactic to maintain control in the relationship. In the situation above the guy lost control and therefore was at the mercy of the girl. As long as she keeps saying yes to dates and doesn't send signals that she wants to be exclusive, the guy is stuck. If he keeps dating other girls he's perceived as a player and his interest in the first girl is discounted. If he actually keeps his actions congruent with his intentions he has no control. So if a guy shows commitment first in a relationship he will end up looking like a player or he'll lose control. Faced with these choices is it any surprise that guys develop a fear of commitment?


Given that guys are responsible to show initiative, guys are in control by default. Therefore, if a guy doesn't do anything to give up control he is in the driver's seat. That means that the ladies are kinda stuck. They have to communicate their interest while they are uncertain of his position and we're in the same situation as before; frustration.

Now I suppose you're hoping I have a solution for you all. A way to win the dating game without the frustration. Well, as a single guy, I obviously don't have the answer. I've been on both sides of the situation and I don't like either side. The best results I've encountered came when direct VERBAL communication was used early on. But of course those were all rejections. So I guess I'm not much help. I've turned comments on again because I want to hear what you have to say.