Us and Them – The Real Reason You’re on Different Sheets of Music

While I was off visiting my first-born grandchild, John was back home stewing over hurting Betty’s feelings when he told her (after just one week) that he no longer wanted to be exclusive. He told her that before I’d met Mike and started dating him.

But after seeing me having fun and going on dates, he was kind of backpedaling with Betty.

He wrote this one while I was gone and sent it on to me to look over. It made me laugh. I was learning a lot about him, while keeping a safe distance.

I’ll admit I edited out a bunch (man, that guy is wordy!). But I left the part that pertains to him and dating advice. 

Us and Them – The Real Reason You’re on Different Sheets of Music

I’ve told you in past columns that men and women go about dating very differently (yes I can hear your collective “Duh” even now) but here’s a little theory I call ‘Us vs. Them: the Cycles of Attraction’. It will go a long way toward describing why Billy Boyfriend has such a hard time holding up his end of the relationship.

Men and women have different attraction cycles.

What do I mean by that? Well, men are attracted initially in a very visual way, and their goal at that stage is mainly to win over, and be intimate with, the woman. Women on the other hand are attracted to the ‘potential’ of the man – does he meet the necessary criteria?

And here’s where the real issues start: the man’s first cycle is shorter and faster and passes before the woman’s does.

This means that while he is acting on his physical attraction to her and pursuing her for sex (which he either does or does not get) she is watching him to see if he’s living up to the potential of a partner she can call hers for the long-term.

The man’s cycle has a lot to do with the outward appearance of the woman;  how she looks, smells, feels, and as such is quickly satisfied (or not) in very short order.

On the other hand the woman’s first cycle has more to do with what’s inside the man and, as a result, takes longer. Ironically this is why a woman often is starting to really fall for a guy just as he is getting over her and looking to engage in that first ‘attraction/desire’ cycle again – with somebody else.

Here’s the really fascinating part though: the next cycle for the man and the woman is basically the same: it’s the bonding/pairing cycle and it happens when both stop thinking of the other as ‘them’ and start thinking in terms of ‘us’.

But here’s where the guys confuse the girls: Ladies, guys make you into ‘us’ almost immediately, so that they can attain their initial goal of intimacy. But then they move you back to the ‘them’ column just as you’re responding to their opening play and starting to feel all ‘us-sy’ yourself. You’re then left to wonder what the hell just happened?!

Men go there fast, then they retreat, but they can come back to ‘us’- and this is how:

Guys sometime panic when they get a girlfriend and start thinking about ‘forever’ (men tend to think in absolutes – ie, never vs. forever, or cat vs. dog – ok the last example is weak, but you get the idea). So do this; just be ‘in the moment’ with your guy.

Don’t make long-term plans, don’t talk about next year, or even this Fall, just stay in the here and now. Because that’s where the guy lives and that’s often about as far ahead as he wants to think anyway. If you can bridge his chasm between the two times he makes you ‘us’ then you stand a good chance at a real and lasting relationship.

There is no good old-fashioned instant gratification here but like the Stones said: “…if you try sometimes well you might find – you get what you need”.


By John P. Gavin

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