I’ve had clients who said they were feeling naughty that they got into exclusivity, that is when they knew I would not want them to. Here’s the thing, sometimes we know it’s worth taking the risk of abandoning our Manfunnel. Remember, however, there is still risk involved. I suggest that you keep your Manfunnel for as close to three months as possible, a time-period called, “the exploratory phase” of the relationship. A Manfunnel is a group of men you are exploring as options for a long term and/or serious relationship. Let’s talk about your exclusivity checklist and why you need to keep that Manfunnel as long as you can.
Here are the reasons I want you to hold onto your Manfunnel:
1. You don’t know a person’s intention until after you’ve dated for about 90 days. It’s important to see if his words match his actions. He can say anything he wants, but you need to watch his actions before deciding to put all your eggs in one basket. On the flip side, although a man can tell you he doesn’t want a relationship, if his actions are consistent and he keeps showing up for you, he might just be “The One”.
A special woman in my life got married last week. Not even a year ago, the man was saying he did not want a relationship with my friend, as he had a girlfriend. However, I read the texts and could tell there was something there to work with. I worked with her on showing up around him in her most magnetic energy. She listened to every word and did everything she was supposed to do. Things completely turned around, and they were married within the year.
P.S. This is a man who said he would never marry again! She made it clear that she wanted marriage, and so would have to hold onto her Manfunnel, in order to find someone who wanted what she wants. The plan worked quickly! This couple is in their 60s and 70s by the way. The Manfunnel is timeless!
2. Your sanity. Okay, here’s a big one. When we abandon our Manfunnel, since we are expecting to get our needs met by only one person, he’d better be meeting those needs before you become exclusive. It’s smart to define what your needs are, previous to cutting the options loose. Then make sure those needs are being met before jumping in exclusively. If your needs are not being met, then what is the point of the relationship? It’s better to go at it alone!
The mistake I see women make is to get into exclusivity and then hope that the needs will be met. The conflict is that in the early days I want your relationship to be lighthearted with low expectations. Your Manfunnel keeps your energy and focus on options, which automatically keeps your energy feeling light to him. He can tell when your energy has shifted solely onto him. Sometimes, when we are in an exclusive relationship too soon, we feel anxious. We keep a watchful eye on the phone. The feeling in our stomach goes from butterflies to tight and heavy and back again. The relationship can go from fun and exciting to a sitting a waiting period where you’re wondering where he is and what he is thinking about the relationship. I prefer this to all be worked out in advance of a “relationship.
3. You cannot go backwards. It’s always easier to go slowly than to get into the exclusivity too quickly and then realize things are not exactly as you were hoping. When this happens, I coach women on how to free themselves from the exclusivity, while keeping the relationship. This is not without risk, however. Take things slowly and be sure that this one is worth the risk of becoming his “girlfriend.” You hold onto your Manfunnel because you’re looking to be a wife, not a girlfriend. When you become a girlfriend, he wins. He gets emotional support, sex, and the peace of not having to worry about the competition! He’s now got you in a safe holding pattern, whereby he can be lazy and not make a permanent commitment in any hurry. If you want the formal commitment, getting into a girlfriend/boyfriend scenario might be a trap. There are ways to enter a relationship with clear expectations.
4. The science. After a man is satiated sexually, the hormones within his brain change; the chances of his falling in love can be lowered. If you are sleeping with him before commitment, you are taking a much bigger risk of falling in love before he is feeling in love. Our Oxytocin explodes during orgasm, causing us to get seriously attached. Be aware of these facts before leaping into the relationship, jumping into bed and ignoring your other options.
You can create a sturdier relationship that stands the test of time if you are choosing a mate with a clear head. Your brain functions entirely differently; it overlooks red flags when you’re falling in Love. This is one of the main reasons I want you to choose your man by exploring options before your brain is “in love”.
Dawn Maslar, The Love Biologist, explains how your brain falls in love and what to do to create your most long-lasting, loving relationship without getting your heart broken. Based on science, love at first sight does not exist, only lust. Dawn says if you jump into a relationship, your brain can wake up two years later and discover that the person you married has many qualities that don’t suit you.
5. Approval. When you stop seeing other men, he gets the stamp of approval without having to work for it anymore. Think of the teenager who worked for years to save up for his dream car. They had to put in long hours of work when their friends were hanging out, going to parties or playing sports. Now think of the teenager who is simply handed the keys to a great car by their parents when they turn 16. Which one will value their car more? Which one will take care of it best? Which one will spend time to cherish it.
One major lesson I learned while dating so many men when I lived in NYC is, the more I valued myself and my time, the more men would value me. This allowed them to put time, effort and even money into the dating process. If I’m truthful to myself, I want to be spoiled by my man. We set the tone for this scenario in the early days of our relationship. Let him work for it! It doesn’t matter if you out-earn him. He actually wants to do this work, and put in this effort, for his woman. He will remember these days with pleasure for the rest of your life together.
6. Patterns. Take a moment to think about your previous relationships. Did you see some red flags in the beginning which were the reason the relationship ultimately ended? If you had taken more time on the front end to explore the person, would you two have gone deeper into the relationship? Were there miscommunications or value clashes, which could have been prevented had you really taken your time to explore this person?
If you had taken the time to deeply understand your needs like your relationship values, your top ten qualities and your non-negotiables through a self-exploration process, would you have chosen your last relationship as a partner during that time period? Now is the time to look at the patterns in your life and in your relationships and make a difference. If we function in the same way we will likely get similar results. If we try something new, different or improved, we will likely get a different result. Therefore, the final reason I want you to keep your Manfunnel is if your relationship history can use some improvement.