Sharing with a gal pal after a second date, I expressed disappointment that my date didn’t treat me like my last beau did. My wise friend said, “You’re expecting him to display boyfriend behavior but he’s not your boyfriend yet.” She was right! In fact, he probably hadn’t even decided he was interested in being my boyfriend.
While we can expect men we’re beginning to date to be courteous and hopefully chivalrous, some behaviors are more along the lines of “taking care of my woman.” Some very chivalrous men behave this way for any woman they know. Others have more of a hierarchy, ascending to the next level as he becomes more fond of her.
Men have shared that when in a relationship, they adopt an attitude of protection toward the woman. They are more concerned that she’s made it home safely, her home is secure and her car won’t break down. They check in with her regularly to make sure if she has any upset he can fix, he will do his darndest.
When just getting to know a woman, a conscientious man will walk a woman to her car, help her on and off with her coat, and open doors. While this shows he cares, these behaviors can also be so engrained he does them for nearly any woman he accompanies, regardless of his romantic interest in her.
I notice when men display these behaviors and appreciate them, but I’ve now learned not to take them as signs a man has feelings for me. It seems each man has different baseline behaviors he displays from the first date and then adds to them as he feels more connection. So if you interpret early behaviors as expressing his attraction to you, you can be disappointed to find that’s how he acts toward all women he’s getting to know.
As your relationship deepens, what if he doesn’t display the boyfriend behaviors you’d like? Of course, you can make requests and if he’s astute he will pick up what you like. So instead of getting angry that he doesn’t do something you want, you can ask him directly, then tell him how much you appreciate it.
For example, you are chilly in the over-air conditioned movie theater, having left your wrap in the car. Don’t just complain how cold it is and expect he’ll offer to get your sweater. Instead ask, “Sweetie, would you be a dear and get my sweater from the car while I hold the seats?” If he’s into you, he will jump at the opportunity to show you he can take care of you. And when he gets back, make sure to say, “Thank you. I appreciate your taking care of me this way.”
Guess what? Next time you say you’re cold, he’ll probably offer to get your coat from the car. If not, just gently ask him. You are training him to display boyfriend behavior that you appreciate. And make sure you acknowledge him when he does what you like. We all like to be acknowledged and if we care about the person, we learn what they like by what they thank us for.
What do you consider boyfriend behavior that you wouldn’t expect early on?
Have you ever been disappointed that someone didn’t display boyfriend behavior when just starting to date?
Do you want to better understand how to determine if you should keep dating someone after a few dates? Then get your copy of Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?