Mike: This is Mike Hennessy. And on behalf of the team of LoveEvolveAndThrive.com, I’d like to welcome you to today’s interview with Dr. Duana Welch. Duana Welch earned her PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Florida Gainesville. She is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do as well as the popular relationship blog called Love Science, which addresses advice on how the public can benefit from empirical scientific research about successful relationships. To learn more about Dr. Duana Welch, visit her website at www.LoveScienceMedia.com.
Duana Welch, thank you so much for joining us today.
Dr. Welch: Thank you so much for having me here.
Mike: Duana, some of our subscribers are interested in learning about how and when a man actually decides that a woman is the one for him.
Can you also talk about an instance when men may internally shift their thinking about the woman from Ms. Right Now to Ms. Right and even vice versa?
Dr. Welch: Sure. As you know, I do all my talking from a perspective of science. But I’d like to start with a story about a male friend of mine who told me years ago that he was never going to get married, he was never going to have kids, he was never going to buy a house. He was really clear on all of those.
And of course, what has he done?
He has done all three of those things and he is really, really happy.
So he didn’t set out with a conscious plan to make a big commitment although that’s exactly what he has done. And what I’d like to share with you is that science finds that a lot of men make this decision unconsciously and they make it from a place of emotion.
In other words, they don’t necessarily kind of consciously decide that a woman is the one for him.
And to understand more about this, think about everyone out there has a computer or they have a cell phone, maybe a smartphone. And there are programs that run your visual part of your screen, programs that you never interact with although those programs maybe tracking what you do and they may be changing themselves by what you do.
Men and women both have large portions of their mating psychology that is largely unconscious.
And studies have been able to uncover some of this by looking at say, preferences, for certain types of behavior that exist independent of money and independent of culture and exist globally. They’ve been able to find that there’s a human mating ritual.
And it appears that men have kind of an active desktop or a program that’s running their desktop that has two programs running at the same time.
One of these programs I call Ms. Right. This is the person they’re going to marry.
And then the other one is Ms. Right Now. This is all the other people that they may fool around with, may spend several years living with but aren’t going to marry.
And the trick is that men easily and unconsciously move women from one category to the next.
So women, I have a couple of things to say to you.
The first is that some things about this you don’t have any control over and neither does he actually at a conscious level.
What are those things that you don’t have control over? Well, first of all, whether or not he’s attracted to you. Men either – they’re either into you or they’re not. And there’s not a whole lot you can do about that.
Another thing you don’t have any control over is whether he is inclined to fall in love with you.
You can’t make a man fall in love with you who wasn’t already at least a little bit of the way there. That’s not going to happen.
And then the third thing you don’t have much control over is what your rivals might say about you.
It’s a really interesting research that I first encounter through Dr. David Buss, the world’s most famous evolutionary psychologist, indicated that when men are considering a mate, other women’s opinion about that potential mate can move that woman from the Ms. Right Now category to the Mrs. Right category and vice-versa.
For example, let’s say that a guy is really interested in you and someone comes up and says, “Yeah, of course you’re interested in her. She has done the whole football team.” Even if he has a conscious understanding that that’s very unlikely, unfortunately, those kinds of statements do tend to put you off the long-term radar. It’s unfair but it’s true.
Another example. This one really kind of blows me away.
Let’s say that a guy is really attracted to a particular woman. And this other woman wants to be dating that guy. So the other woman comes up to him and says, “You like her?” And he goes, “Oh my god! I think she’s just great.” And then this woman says, “Well yeah, but her thighs, look at them. They’re so fat.”
Now, what’s interesting to me about this is, he can see with his own eyeballs whether the woman is fat or not. He shouldn’t need any external validation for that. But it turns out that in studies, men perceive women a little bit differently. They’re becoming less attracted to them if someone has said that her appearance is in question.
So those are three factors that aren’t under your control when men are falling in love with you or not falling in love with you or thinking you’re Mrs. Right or thinking you’re Ms. Right Now.
But there are other factors, really important ones that are largely under your control.
There are social scientists who have noted that you just can’t overstate the importance of sending messages early in courtship that the opposite sex wants to hear. And the message that we know from studies that men want to hear for their wife is she is not going to put my genetic line at risk. All the children born to this union will be my children.
Our mating psychology comes from many, many, many thousands of years, perhaps longer than that even before there was any such thing as religion or language or art. Certainly, a long time before there was science. And so it was from a time when largely, we made our decisions in an unconscious emotional way and all of us, men and women, still carry that part of our thinking forward even today.
And so, women have never had to worry about whose child was emerging from her body. At a gut level, we know, this is our child which means that our genetic line is being sent to the future. But men have never until very recently been completely sure of who is the daddy. They couldn’t have been. And their psychology does not come from the time of paternity test. It comes from the time when a man just had to either connect with the feeling that the child as his or not.
A lot of ancient cultures actually capitalize on that. Men got to say whether a child was theirs or not. If they didn’t believe it, they could literally send the child on a hillside or a road and wait for the child to either die or someone to adopt it or something like that.
So throughout the world today for example, it’s known that mothers are very likely to say to their husbands, “Oh look, the baby looks just like you.” I doubt most women are consciously aware of a thought process that says, “Oh my god! He might not support this child and he might kick me out if he suspects it’s not his. I better reassure him.”
But nonetheless, not only do women believe the baby looks more like dad but other people also make statements about the baby looking more like the husband and the baby is judged by objective strangers tend to get paired up more with their biological dad. So they really do look like dad. And that probably comes from a time when men just routinely rejected babies that look like someone else even the mom because of course, it is mom’s child. The question is whether it’s dad.
So women, where is all this going with you and his mating psychology?
Studies show that when a man is looking for a wife, he values certain behavioral qualities that if he is looking for a hook-up are the exact opposite things that he would be looking for.
For example, men looking for a hook-up and research by Buss and Schmitt found that those men routinely say they want things like really out of bounds flirtatious behavior, kind of over the top. They’re looking for a dress that reveals a lot of skin. They’re looking for clothes that are very tight-fitting. They’re looking for sex that is often very, very quickly. They’re actively turned off by any behavior that could be construed as prudish or conservative.
I don’t mean politically conservative. I mean conservative in the sense that she is careful and she is waiting to make decisions. They don’t like that. What they want is ease of sexual access, ease of emotional access. There virtually no work or very, very little work in order to gain access to these things. That’s who gets put in the Ms. Right category.
And this confuses a lot of women because they say, “Well, he said he was really into me. He said he wants to get married someday. He indicated he wanted to have sex with me. I thought he was really cute and seemed to have a lot of what I was looking for. So I went back and have sex with him. And then he lost all interest in me.”
Well, his interest was the Ms. Right Now kind of interest.
And the difficult thing for you woman, is that a lot of times because men have their Mrs. Right and their Ms. Right Now categories or programs running at the same time, to you, the words are going to sound just the same. So what’s going to change your category is not what he says. It’s how you behave.
So how do men move you into the Mrs. Right category?
Well, largely because they had to work to have you.
What their largely non-conscious mating psychology is saying is if she made me to wait to have sex, she made everyone wait and therefore, she is a safe bet. All the children born to us would be my children.
I want you to understand this mating psychology applies even if he thinks he never wants to get married, even if he definitely never wants children, even if he has had a vasectomy.
This is not about conscious rational thought. This is about an unconscious program that made sure that our paternal fathers, the men of the past, our ancestral fathers rather, that they cast their genes forward instead of unwittingly raising some other guy’s kids.
So, what can you do?
The big thing you can do is you can let him lead the courtship but at your pacing. Meaning that yes, he calls you first. Yes, he asks you on the dates. Yes, he picks up the check. Yes, he offers to meet you in your part of town. Yes, he introduces you to his friends and family before you do all these things. It’s a dance where he’s leading and you’re following but you’re not following right away.
Look, men are usually going to press for sex very quickly.
They’re usually going to do that because think about it, it’s a win-win. If you have sex with him right away, again, this is not a conscious program, it’s mostly unconscious, but if you have sex with him right away, the part of his mating psyche that just wants to cast genes all over the place gets satisfied. He has a chance at genetic immortality.
But if you don’t say yes right away, he has a chance to fall in love, a chance to make a commitment, and a chance to have a deep lasting love with someone.
And all of that is very valuable too.
So the pressing for sex quickly is a win-win.
It’s in your best interest if you are looking for a life mate to hold off on sexual intimacy until a man has expressed that he wants you for his girlfriend he is not seeing anyone else and that he wishes you wouldn’t see anyone else either.
Additionally, I recommend waiting until he has said that he loves you and that he had shown it through his behavior to your satisfaction.
And of course finally, don’t go anywhere with all of this until you yourself had made sure that you feel the same way.
Mike: Duana Welch, thanks so much for joining us today.
Dr. Welch: Thank you very much.
Mike Hennessy: Well, thank you so much, Duana Welch. I think there’s a lot of good advice in a very short period of time. This is Mike Hennessy and on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I would like to welcome you to today’s interview with Dr. Duana Welch.
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