- Gender and Relationships
Is He Stepping Up And Setting The Bar?
Every time you date a guy there are certain levels of standards; aka, "bar" that get set for how a guy should treat you. Some men set this bar extremely high while others fall very short.
Let's keep it real, we are all guilty of comparing our relationships. If a past boyfriend (or several) has treated you great—called and texted daily, planned dates and trips, gave thoughtful gifts, and had an amazing emotional and physical connection with you, then yes, if the next guy you date is subpar in his dating skills—his lack of actions can end up being a huge turn-off.
Of course, each time the bar is set higher it can make it harder for other men to keep you interested, but this isn't necessarily a negative thing.
Do you really want a guy who thinks it's okay to not put effort into the relationship? Don't get me wrong, I realize that dating one guy who takes you on several trips throughout the year might not be a realistic expectation for the next guy. However, if traveling is important to you, then you should be willing to compromise and be open to being with a guy who is willing and can plan one or possibly two trips (of your liking) within the year so you don't feel as though you are completely lowering your standards.
The more you date, the more you will realize which dating standards are meaningful to you—we all have them—and that is important. Regardless of what those standards are for you, they are yours and having a man treat you less than what you want is settling. Settling isn't always a good thing—it eventually hurts the person you're settling for and will cause a setback in finding your ultimate love and relationship.
As women we tend to attract similar types of guys. For many of us, this type will be men who play games, don't appreciate us, aren't there for us on an emotional level (because they are emotionally unavailable) or who end up being controlling, jealous or have anger issues. When we start to realize that we really do deserve better and break away from our old patterns, often we will find a guy who will treat us the way we have been wanting but didn't fully recognize it.
Love or even the thought of love can blind many women into thinking that as long as she is getting attention—even if the attention isn't positive—that a guy must love her. Wrong. A guy who truly loves you, cares and respects you, will work hard to make you happy—not unhappy. Loving someone is not about being controlling or negatively supporting someone. It's about being each others guide; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to create and build a lasting foundation together.
When a guy goes out of his way to show you how you should be treated—no games, planning dates, listening and following through with things discussed, and going out of his way to make you feel important, the bar ends up being set very high. Regardless if the relationship lasted, the way he treated you will leave a big impression in your memory bank of how you want the next guy to treat you. From that point on, the expectation will be be that other men need to at least reach that level of standard or frankly surpass it—especially if you are looking for a lasting long-term relationship.
The true understanding of this bar for many women is when we date a guy over a special holiday—especially our birthday.
Our birthday is a day that not everyone in the world celebrates. It's a day that is for us to stand out and feel special—especially if you are single and have no children, because a birthday is the only day that celebrates just you.
What a guy does for us on our birthday shouldn't be a make or break situation, but honestly for women it can be. Our birthday (and the day we get engaged) is something that we want a guy to put thought and effort into. Planning and doing something special for us, taking the time to pick out a card and buy a gift that shows us that he's been paying attention and that he knows us personally is important.
Again, I know this might sound superficial since the importance isn't the same for men, but this is one of the things that's make men and women different. We want a guy who does something special on our special day. Doing something on a Hallmark holiday that most people celebrate is also important however it's not the same.
When holidays come around friends and family want to know what our significant other has done for us, however, there is a greater emphasis when it comes to our birthday (or getting engaged)—they want the play by play details. Where did he take us, what effort did he make in picking out—what should be—the perfect gift, what did we wear, was there a card and flowers? If the details are bleak—because he didn't give us much thought on our special day—then we (as well as our friends and family) view his actions as though he doesn't really care.
I dated several men who have made me feel special on my birthday—setting the bar extremely high. One guy in particular had only known me for five weeks before my birthday and went out of his way to make my day special.
Since I had only dated this guy for several weeks, my expectation for him doing something for my birthday wasn't high at all. Most of my relationships—prior to him—I had been in for several months or longer before my birthday—so the expectations for those men were naturally higher.
One week before my birthday this guy asked me what my plans were and that he wanted to take me out—just that alone set the bar in motion. My birthday that year fell on a weekday and my only plan was cocktails and pool time with one of my girlfriends. This guy asked if he could pick me up at a time that worked for me so that I could fully enjoy my birthday day—increasing the bar to another level.
When he came to get me I thought that he was just taking me out to dinner, he did, but first he took me to a get a massage—not a couples massage, just a massage for me—the bar increased again. When I was done with my massage, he was waiting for me in the lobby, walked me to his car, opened my car door for me and had a beautiful big boutique of flowers in a vase that he pre-ordered and picked up during my massage with a card—I was so surprised and deeply moved by the level his thoughtfulness he displayed.
My special day ended with him taking me to my favorite restaurant for dinner—this guy was definitely a great listener and payed attention to details. Just when I thought the night couldn't get any better he surprised me with a desert that had a candle in it while singing happy birthday to me. This guy set the bar extremely high. He made me realize that I do deserve somebody that is willing to do special things for me—regardless of how long we have been dating.
Why as women do we believe that in order for men to treat us special we have to date them for an extended period of time? We surround ourselves with so many excuses as to why we shouldn't be treated the way we want to that we end up attracting men who believe it too.
Ladies, having standards for dating is important so that you don't settle for a guy who treats you less than what you want or deserve. Before your bar had been set, you might have been OK with subpar treatment and lack of effort. However, by meeting a guy who is willing to do the work it takes to sustain a relationship—therefore raising the bar—you will begin to see clearly who steps up and impresses you with their romantic gestures and thoughtfulness and who isn't worth your time. The right man will come...just hold your bar high and be patient.