There is a time for dating and then a time when you begin feeling like you're ready for the next step. You want a husband, a man who will father and help raise children, and a life partner who will be faithful and share their life with you. This may be an old fashioned concept, but is also an actual truth. It is part of growing up, and the majority of women still want a husband and family. It also happens to be an area of frustration for women and continues with every new generation.
There are reasons women remain in the girlfriend arena. There are reasons that although she may have lived with the guy for three years, they can break up and she will notice six months later on Facebook that he is engaged to another woman. Although these experiences are hurtful and humbling for the woman they happen to, I am surprised when I talk to them a few months later to find they are usually with a similar guy who represents exactly what their ex did, and most likely will repeat the same situation again.
The number one reason you're his girlfriend and not his wife is most likely due to your choice of men. If you don't do your homework and understand yourself, your parents, and other relationships you have watched and been a part of, you won't make wise choices. A study done several years ago and repeated identified qualifiers that predict more difficulty in the dating arena. Girls who grow up without engaged dads have a tougher time making a wise choice when dating. Dads' relationship with their daughters teaches many things, but one of the most important things they do is model characteristics good men have. Even if dad is lacking in those, his relationship with his daughter affords her insight and understanding of men. If daughter and dad have a close relationship, she will also develop a stronger confidence and self-esteem.
The other behaviors involved with changing girlfriend status are totally up to the woman. If you are tired of feeling used or left at the altar, only to find it wasn't "the altar" he didn't want, it was you, and these suggestions will be helpful.
• If you secure your relationship with sex instead of an emotional connection, it is more likely you will remain girlfriend status. One of the reasons online dating actually works is due to the long emails and getting to know each other well prior to intimacy. If you think the guy is someone you really like, take your time with sex (take your time with it in all situations, women who have sex when they feel best about it are much happier with the intimacy and sex).
• You move in with them in hopes it will turn into something more. Living with someone may be cheaper, but it is not the best situation for a woman. Women are wired to be heart creatures and although work is important, women thrive on emotional connection. Women who live with their partner prior to marriage are creating a living together scenario that they believe will generalize to marriage. It doesn't work that way. Keep your own place. It's the best money you'll ever spend.
• Weak boundaries and being there at his whim. When you make your life about someone else and no longer invest in your own interests or priorities you are setting yourself up to be taken advantage of. People born into homes with poor boundaries never have structure, personal space, or respect for one another. Clingers or needy women tire their partner. Keep your own goals, interests and dreams intact. Don't change your life to accommodate theirs, and encourage them by your behavior to aspire to yours.
• Passive women are sexy to insecure men. Women tell me frequently they are passive, quiet, or dishonest because they don't want to upset their boyfriend. What? Lying to your partner is not okay, and if you feel the need to lie, you are not in a good relationship. Advocate and stand up for yourself and your needs. Strong, smart women do not intimidate men who are secure in themselves.
When I talk to men about what they look for in a life partner they usually tell me three things consistently. They are looking for:
1. A woman who takes care of herself and likes herself and her body.
2. A woman who is independent and yet wants to be with them.
3. A woman who has a good sense of humor and knows what she wants.
My best advice is this: Women who understand themselves and advocate for what they believe in upfront with the guy rarely find themselves in the position of a girlfriend for long. This is because guys that just want a girlfriend and nothing more won't be interested, which saves more time for the guy who is looking for more.
– Mary Jo Rapini