As a sex and relationship coach, I am constantly using my own life as a laboratory to explore the full range of what’s possible in sex and connection.
Recently, I just completed a period of no sexual contact—the “no man diet” as it’s called. After 6 weeks of intentional emotional and physical celibacy, I have started flirting with a few guys this last month.
Thus I’ve begun encountering the all-familiar, inevitable Bez-splosion that occurs when I start texting guys I’m hot for—and they don’t text me back within 5 minutes of me reaching out.
I’ve gotten more patient as I’ve matured. It used to happen after 5 seconds…
In all seriousness, though, I want to take one for the feminine team right now and address this embarrassing, uncontrollable reaction that many of us women don’t want to openly talk about—but that when I boldly mention in a room full of ladies, most start laughing and nodding their heads in unison.
“Oh God—that happens for me, too! I hate it and I have no idea what to do.”
The typical strategies of bold, powerful women who hate being ignored are pretty straightforward.
- Text him more. Maybe he just didn’t see that last one?
- Try to be nonchalant and summarize the encounter by saying something like, “Anyway… it was nice to talk with you. Maybe I’ll see you again sometime!” (omitting both: “OMG please please please!!!!!” and “You fucking asshole”)
- ALL CAPS?
- Emoji text barrage until he’s forced to mitigate the sheer volume of alerts.
- Pretend you don’t care and say nothing—for about 10 seconds until you snap and resort to one of the previous strategies.
Unfortunately, all of these strategies backfire and don’t give either of you the connection you’re wanting from each other. (Yes, I know from [ahem, recent] experience.)
These tactics backfire because they are all based on the same two wayward beliefs:
- That men and women are designed in the same way.
- That someone else’s behavior means something about you.
Let’s check these out, shall we?
Men and women are NOT made the same!
If you want to have your womanly world rocked on this subject and fall in love with men EXACTLY the way they are, check out Alison Armstrong‘s brilliant work. Essentially: Men, by design, are incredibly focused. (Which is HOT, right?) As such, for a man to take his attention away from what he’s doing and respond to you requires a completely different set of muscles and a much greater amount of energy than it would take you to do the same as a woman.
Does this mean that he gets a free pass to ignore you and treat you poorly? No, not at all! But it does meant that as a woman, you can respect and honor THE WAY HIS BODY AND BRAIN ARE WIRED… by using ALL CAPS with discretion. 😉
No really—when it comes to all caps, you bring it on, baby. He wants the fullness of you, in all of its wildly expressive glory.
AND—when a man does or doesn’t do something, we as women tend to make it mean the same thing it would if WE OURSELVES did or didn’t do it.
That’s simply not accurate. Making such assumptions has caused me a lot of unnecessary pain and loss of connection with some beautiful men who probably loved me an awful lot—I was just making their behavior mean something it didn’t.
I remember doing an exercise many years ago that had a profound impact on me. It was set up like this: the men stood on one side of the room and the women on the other, about 15 feet away from each other. First the women, and then the men, were invited to approach their partner in the way they found most natural, appealing, and arousing.
Almost to the last couple, the women all approached the men sporadically—we would move quickly forward, then back up and pause, then lunge at the men, and then run away across the room and hide. This back and forth pattern continued until time was called.
When it was the men’s turn, their pattern was equally evident: almost all of them approached the women slowly and steadily, moving forward deliberately and at a methodical pace. And once they reached the women, they held them. And. Did. Not. Move. Until time was called.
I remember squirming in my then-husband’s embrace and thinking, “OK—can I get a little space now?!”
I also remember judging my “sporadic” nature as fickle, unreliable, or immature. These are the stories our culture tells us about women’s designs—it is not true!
The back and forth approach is what feels the best for most women because our systems are naturally in flux. We change on a dime, with no qualms, in a way that is mystifying to most men.
The next time he’s not texting you back, remember that men and women are designed different. You can’t start embracing his nature by assuming its the same as your own.
His responses don’t mean anything about you
This one is really big, because as women we are constantly looking to make meaning out of our experiences. It’s natural for us. It’s the way we organize all of the emotion and information that we take in through our highly attuned senses. It’s part of our social instinct that has us able to connect deeply with others. It’s a mark of how much we care and a measure of our desire.
And it can also set up very unpleasant feelings in our relationships if gone unchecked.
What’s true is that his behavior is not personal to you. It’s not the verdict on your attractiveness. It’s not feedback you need to use to edit yourself for next time. You can’t use it to foretell the future. It doesn’t mean you said or did it wrong—or even that you did it right.
The only thing it means when he hasn’t responded to you is—that he hasn’t responded to you.
He’s probably focused and will get back to you when he’s got the bandwidth.
So next time you catch yourself mid-meltdown after not receiving a text back, here’s what you do:
Step 1: Remember that his behavior is not personal and doesn’t mean anything about you.
Step 2: Respect and get behind the way he’s designed as a focused creature. How can you acknowledge to yourself that he’s built differently than you are? When you put your standards onto him, he can only lose.
Step 3: Be generous and choose to trust him. Trust that he cares—because he does, otherwise he would leave for good.
Step 4: Turn your attention inward and fill up your tanks. Where are you depleted? Get it nourished.
Step 5: Feel your desire and appreciation for him. What feels good about his attention? Express it to him. Enjoy it and take him in. Give him all your love. Men’s devotion to women is profound and goes deep—even when he doesn’t text you back right away.
I teach the New Kind of Sex that works for women and brings everyone more fulfillment. One of the cornerstones of the new kind of sex is understanding that men and women are designed differently, and using our designs for more enjoyment, connection, and flat-out satisfying collaboration.