On Friends With Benefits and Fierce Independence

Recently, some enterprising young ladies invited me to join their advice site called ChickRx and answer some questions. Who was I to resist? Here are two that I answered.

I am fiercely independent, but I would like a serious relationship. Guys just see me as a friend though, how can I change this? – H.

Hey there, H.

Before answering your question, I want you to do a mental exercise. Let’s say you know a guy. He’s good-looking, smart and competent. You could be interested in him, but every time you ask him to do something together, he says, “Okay, what do you want to do?” He’s fussy about his appearance, he can’t decide to save his life, and he always wants to share his feelings.

Question to you: How attractive do you find this hypothetical guy?

I’m guessing your answer is ‘not very.’ Because this is a man who’s in his feminine energy, and generally, women don’t find that attractive in a sheet-ripping kind of way.

If that makes sense to you, then it should also make sense that men feel the same way about a woman who is predominantly in her masculine energy. I’m guessing that’s what you’re doing around guys — being strong, fiercely independent, and self-sufficient. Heck, you may even be cracking crude jokes and getting into burping contests with them.

Basically, you’re being one of the guys.

What’s missing here is masculine-feminine polarity. You need that polarity for attraction to happen. Don’t ask my why, because I don’t know. It just seems to be the way nature works. Positive charge attracts negative charge; north pole of magnet attracts south pole.

So if you want guys to be attracted to you as a woman, you would do well do use more of your feminine energy. And if masculine energy is the thing that projects, feminine energy is what receives.

In other words, instead of being fiercely independent, you want to start receiving: receive compliments, receive help, receive love. Receive the sensuality of the world through your 5 senses and express it. People have been trying to give you all of this, but in the illusion of independence (or that it would betoken weakness), you’ve been rejecting it.

But fierce independence is a myth anyway. We’re all embedded in a super-complex web of interdependence. From the road someone else built, from the milk someone else brought from a farm, to the gas you put in your car, we’re all implicitly and explicitly dependent on each other.

So, to summarize: start expressing and expressing more of your feminine energy. Accept compliments. Let guys open doors for you. Let them treat you to lunch. Let yourself be a little girly. Do it for a week, notice the results and report back on how it went.

I’ve had a “friends with benefits” relationship for a couple months, but I want him to be my boyfriend. How can I convert it? — Wishful ThinkerBell

First off, we need to be very clear on what it is that you want. What exactly does ‘convert to boyfriend’ mean for you? Does that mean you spend all your time together? Does that mean that you have sex with one another to the exclusion of everyone else? Does that mean you are the primary source of emotional support for one another?

Because once you know the answer to that question, you can then answer the real question: what’s important to you about him being your boyfriend? Is it the label? Is it the feeling of security? Is it the companionship you crave, the sex, or the cachet of being unavailable? You need to figure out what your true motivations are, otherwise you’re going at it blind. And as a result, you could find yourself working really hard to get what you think you want, only to end up as part of a statistic, like the 50+% of American marriages that end in divorce.

That said, I will give you the one good reason for companionship: it is for the deepening of the spirit and the mutual enrichment of your lives. If you’re doing it out of ego or fear, it simply isn’t going to work in the long run, even if you succeed in nabbing him.

And if you really want to nab him, here’s how. The only way it’s going to work is if he approaches you about it. And the only way that’s going to happen is if you apply this principle from the Tao Te Ching:

“Before you take something, you must allow it to be given.”

This is how you do it:

1) Have options. If he’s the only guy you’re getting together with, you have zero leverage. Once there are other guys and he knows about them, he’s going to get competitive. So be sure to say ‘no’ to him a couple of times and casually mention that you’re with a ‘friend’.

2) Be outrageously good in bed. If you’re the best he’s ever had, he’d be a fool to walk away or let you walk away. There are plenty of resources online to enhance your skills in this department. To start, I would apply Dan Savage’s principles of being ‘giving, game and good.’

3) Make him feel like the king of the universe. If you’re the one person who makes him feel 50ft tall, where’s he gonna go? You have a dude monopoly. Why? Because no one else is doing that. Make it such that he falls to his knees, crying and wondering why you’re so good to him. This requires some serious humility, but hey, you asked.

4) Be gone. Always be on the border of calling the whole thing off. In fact, you should call it off a couple of times, and say something like, “Hey, I really enjoy your company, but I’m kind of in a different zone now and looking for something more serious. I still think you’re great, so if that sounds like something you’d be into, let me know.” That’s what worked on me, anyway (after she had done #1-3).

Here’s the ironclad rule: If you want to get him, you have to be into him less than he is into you. There is no other way. Even if you’re bananas for him, pretend like it’s true, and it will be.

And finally, to dispel a persistent myth: men are flesh and bone and have feelings, just like women. Sex is a big deal for almost any guy, and if there has been repeated sex of the good variety, there will be a big emotional attachment, whether you detect it or not. Little boys and little girls show emotion and cry at about the same rate, but the boys are socialized to show less and less emotion as they grow up. Just remember that under that seemingly callow, tough exterior that you think you see, there’s usually a quivering little boy pining for your love.

All the best

Dr Ali B

Categories: Dating for Women

1 Comment on “On Friends With Benefits and Fierce Independence”

  1. jseliger

    4) Be gone. Always be on the border of calling the whole thing off

    This is really the most important point: If she wants to make this guy her boyfriend, she has to be ready to lose him, and ready to endure the pain of losing him. She has to tell him that it’s going to be everything—that is, a relationship—or nothing—that is, no sex. But most of us don’t want to confront the prospect of loss, so we’d rather exist in this twilight stage.

    The same basic advice applies if the genders are switched.