I am a man looking for the one. How does Taken In Hand apply in the dating phase?
Given that Taken In Hand relationships are married ones, if you are a man who wants a Taken In Hand relationship, how do you proceed before you are married, when you are trying to find the right person, or still just in the dating phase with the right person?
There is no recipe for the creation of a delectable relationship, because a relationship arises out of who you and your girlfriend are as individuals, and out of your interactions together. A relationship evolves over time. It is not possible to create it overnight by an act of will.
Having said that, here are a few very broad guidelines:
It would be a mistake to act as if you are already married: it takes time to create a good relationship, and if you act as though you are already married, that might well seem off-putting presumptuous to the woman you are merely dating.
On the other hand, it would also be a mistake to act as if you would never want to be in charge. If your girlfriend wants to be with a man who will be in charge, she is likely to feel compelled to test you to check that you will be capable of being in charge and that you have sufficient self-respect not to put up with any nonsense.
Annoying though this testing is, it is necessary, because many men do not want to be in charge and some might want to but have not quite managed to learn how yet, and for a woman who wants a Taken In Hand relationship, it would be a disaster to marry such a man. She wants a happy marriage just like you do, so she needs to be sure that you are the right man for her, just as you need to be sure she is the right woman for you. Think of it as a dance the two of you do to learn enough about each other to decide whether or not you are right for each other.
So while you are just dating, when the woman you are dating does or says something unacceptable to you, that seems disrespectful to you, or like a test of your mettle, do not let it pass to be polite, or because you want to be a nice guy.
If you let a woman treat you disrespectfully or otherwise trample your boundaries, she will despise you for it. She doesn't want you to let her do that! She wants you to nip that nonsense in the bud. And if you do that, you will thereby release her from the fear that you might not be willing or able to wear the trousers in the relationship. When she no longer fears that she might find herself wearing the trousers in a relationship with you, she will relax and the testing will stop.
You may have noticed, when you were at school, that some teachers had complete control of the class without ever having to shout, while other teachers shouted and punished pupils constantly and yet never managed to get even a modicum of control of the class. Teach yourself to be like the teachers who could control the class just by the quiet force of their will.
Yes this is something you can teach yourself. Plenty of men manage to teach themselves to have this power. In addition to reading this site, you might like to read Athol Kay's website and perhaps comb other Game sites and PUA (pickup artistry)/seduction) sites for relevant helpful ideas. Much of the advice in the Game and PUA worlds appears to have been written by men who unfortunately have a chip on their shoulder—i.e., it is not aimed at men with Taken In Hand inclinations. Nevertheless, if you have the patience, do sift through all that bad advice to find the good stuff. Do be warned that some of it is positively chilling even if you have quite a strong stomach. But there is a huge body of knowledge containing much useful truth in the Game and PUA worlds for those who have the patience to find it.
But let's get back to the subject in hand: How should you decisively deal with tests of your mettle? Instead of shouting, glaring at her or throwing things, try to deal with her nonsense calmly, kindly but very firmly. It is perfectly reasonable for you to require your date to treat you well. Do not feel guilty about imposing your will in this respect! She wants you to impose your will in this respect! Respect yourself and expect others to respect you too. You deserve to be treated with respect, don't you?
You have boundaries. Enforce them. Having good personal boundaries is necessary for both partners for the creation of a good relationship. Those who allow others to walk all over them grow to resent the other person, and that makes a good relationship impossible. So both you and your date each need to be a person with firm boundaries. Having and enforcing good boundaries in no way makes you a bad person. On the contrary, it makes you a person who makes others feel comfortable. When a person lacks good boundaries, those interacting with him never quite know where they are with him, and that is very unsettling.
When you are being firm, your frame of mind is important. One of the biggest mistakes people make is feeling defensive or angry or entitled—that she owes you this. She doesn't owe you this, and even if she does, expecting her to grit her teeth and give you this because it's her duty is simply not smart psychologically. Why would she or you or anyone else want to be with someone with that attitude? It's just not attractive, fun, sexy or in any way enjoyable, is it? So the way to think about this is to keep in the forefront of your mind the idea that the purpose of you being firm is to create a hot, sexy, exciting relationship that you both find enjoyable and satisfying.
Yes, of course you want to be treated with respect and so on, but that requires firmness with a positive attitude (think: firmness is hot for the girl!), not firmness coming from a sense of entitlement, anger or defensiveness. If you always keep in mind that the point is not that she jolly well owes you this, but that this is necessary to create and maintain respect and sexual attraction, you are much less likely to make a mistake when you take a stand.
Being firm definitely does not mean threatening to dump your woman unless she changes her behaviour, unless you have no confidence in your ability to nip her nonsense in the bud or you have lost interest anyway. What it means is that you call her on it, and tell her calmly that her behaviour is unacceptable and that you deserve respect and that you expect her to treat you accordingly. If she does not immediately change her attitude or apologise, end the interaction and leave her to think about what you have said for an hour or two or even a day or two in some cases. Then, again, continue not to put up with poor treatment, and see whether her behaviour improves. But throughout these interactions, never forget the idea of firmness
as highly erotic and soothing for the girl. The moment you forget that and think fight!, all is lost.
To make it more likely that she will improve, assume that she has no idea what you want, and give her clear, specific, concrete instructions. Tell her what she could have said or done that would have been acceptable. Women are not mind readers, any more than men are. Tell her what to say to you when she feels frustrated/angry/upset or whatever. Again, keep in mind the idea that you telling her what to do is erotic, not unpleasant. Always assume the best about her, or interact with her as though you do. Think: she's a good person who will want to improve, and will find my bossiness erotic, not: she's an evil witch. If you do think she's an evil witch, perhaps it's time to find someone more worthy of you?!
Explain to your girl that you are looking for a woman who will treat you with respect because you are not the kind of man who finds the idea of lying in the mud and being walked all over to your taste. Look her in the eye and watch her reaction as you add quietly and confidently sure of her inherent goodness: “You wouldn't actually want to be with a man who would let you walk all over him, would you?”
If she feels misjudged in this particular case, it is possible that you have indeed misjudged this particular little incident—you are a fallible human being—but do not get sidetracked into arguing about this little incident. Instead, acknowledge that as you are a fallible human being it is possible that you are mistaken in this case, and then quietly and calmly ask her again to confirm that she would not want to be with a man who would let her walk all over him. When she settles down and confirms that indeed she wouldn't, say “Good”, give her a hug and gently but firmly redirect her attention to an unrelated matter to chivvy her into a better mood. (Example: “Now, let's go for a nice walk together. Where's your coat?”)
None of this involves shouting at her, striking her or punishing her. What you are doing is quietly insisting that you be treated well, and appealing to the good person you know is there in the woman you are dating, and creating sexual attraction and excitement by being firm with a positive spirit. People tend to live up to expectations. Expect the best from her and she will give you her best most of the time. Dealing with nonsense in this way is far more powerful than expressing your anger in a less controlled way.
When an interaction goes wrong and you can see that you are fighting or about to fight, acknowledging that you are fallible and that it is therefore indeed possible that you might be mistaken in this particular case takes the fight out of the situation. It is unexpected. It may seem weak to you but actually it is very strong. When you feel weak, you try to protect and defend yourself. When you feel strong, you can afford to acknowledge that you aren't infallible and that it is possible in a given case that you could be mistaken. The point you want to get across to the woman you are dating is not about this particular incident, so you lose nothing by acknowledging the possibility that you might possibly be mistaken. The important point is that you want her to treat you well. So having acknowledged that indeed you are fallible, again quietly and calmly tell her how she must treat you.
Whether or not you are mistaken in a given case, you are not mistaken in the larger point, which is that no matter how much easier it might be just to let such incidents go, you know that is not good for the health of a relationship longer term. You know that she is not a woman who would want to be with a wimp who would accept poor treatment, and that she is likely to lose attraction to you if you aren't firm. Tell her the truth. There is no need to keep this a secret. Explain all this to her. It is perfectly reasonable. You are not trying to put one over on her, you are trying to create a hot, delightful relationship with the woman you want—hot and delightful for both of you, not just you. Even if you are mistaken in a given incident, she can still see the reasonableness of what you are trying to do.
If you have ideas about how you might deal with nonsense if you were married to the woman, and those ideas are inappropriate to mention in a dating situation, you could tell her what you would do if you were married, but don't say something like that unless you are actually thinking of marrying her.
You could say something like: “You may be able to get away with x now, but that is only because we are just dating; if we were married things would be very different.” Watch her reaction carefully. If she appears unmoved by such a statement, consider the possibility that she is either not Taken In Hand inclined or not that into you. In that case consider the possibility that you have let her get away with too much nonsense, and she is now, as a result, losing attraction to you.
If you do know you want to marry this girl, it is better to err on the side of doing whatever it takes to nip nonsense in the bud than on the side of being the nice guy. If you have set a wedding date and have issued the invitations, do not wait until you are married to enforce your will. How you deal with her nonsense now will set the tone for your marriage, so enforce your boundaries very firmly now. You can help your woman learn how to treat you. It is in your power. She wants to learn. It's hot for her.
Whatever your stage of dating, pay attention to your woman's reactions and calibrate your actions accordingly. Each woman if different. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. You need to do what you yourself think best given who you and she are as individuals and given your relationship together.
Your relationship is a system. You can change it, and your woman, by making small changes yourself. You do not need to feel helpless. You have the power. See this post for more on this.
[This is an answer to a frequently-asked question: this page is part of the FAQ. Please try to ensure that your post is answering the question or discussing the above post. The question is: I am a man looking for the one. How does Taken In Hand apply in the dating phase?]