Types of relationships
When we talk about relationships, we are referring to the romantic or sexual context of your interaction with a specific woman. I’ve found that most relationships fit into one of six categories:
- Traditional: One man, one woman, no one dates anyone else.
- Traditional Plus: Like Traditional, but sometimes you involve other people in your sex life (not your emotional life). Usually, this is when you both enjoy threesomes with other women.
- Open: Both people’s primary emotional commitment is to each other, but they are also free to date other people.
- Multiple: You are not necessarily each other’s primary commitment, and nothing theoretically limits what you can do with others.
- Dating / Undefined: The rules of your relationship are unclear, and there is no explicit commitment.
This is often the case before you sleep together and shortly thereafter.
- Friends with Benefits: No significant emotional commitment. The relationship is primarily sexual.
These relationship types are ranked in decreasing order of commitment and emotional intensity. You can distinguish between:
A) the top two types, in which you are essentially monogamous;
B) the middle two, in which your level of commitment may be more ambiguous;
C) the lower two, which imply little commitment. For simplicity’s sake, we will call these High, Medium, and Low Commitment
Whatever your relationship goals, there are some key points to keep in mind to help you get into any type of relationship:
- Relationship management is often thought of as “what you do after you sleep with her.” This is a bad idea. Women do not wait until they sleep with someone before thinking about where the relationship is going. If you don’t help a woman figure out what you want, she may guess. Or she may assume that you want what she wants. Or she may misinterpret something random that you say or do as meaning something that it doesn’t. Any of these could create a frame and set of expectations that may be hard to change later. Alternatively, if she thinks that you don’t know or won’t tell her what you really want, then she may be less willing to take you seriously in the first place.
- Relationships can change “types” over time. In general, it’s easier to move within a given. Commitment level (High, Medium, Low) than it is to move up, and it’s easier to move up than it is to move down1. Moving down usually requires a breakup first and then a period of no relationship.
- You can try to re-establish a relationship after that, but often your initial options will be limited to returning to the previous relationship type or becoming Friends with Benefits.
- A Friends with Benefits relationship happens between ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends more often than many people think.
- Never lie. I can’t stress this enough. Even if you don’t accept moral arguments against lying (and you’ll see them in a moment whether you accept them or not),
consider these practical ones:
- You’ll get caught. The better she gets to know you over time, the more she’ll be able to tell when you’re lying. It can become really difficult to keep your story straight. Quoting Mark Twain: “Honesty is not having to remember what you’ve said.”
- She’ll feel justified in lying to you.
- You blur the issue: if you lie, you are telling her that even in your own opinion, what you are doing is unacceptable. How can you expect her to accept something that you yourself won’t stand up for and don’t believe in enough, to be honest about?
- You appear weak: weak men lie to get what they want. Strong men are honest about their desires.
- Lying isn’t necessary: you can get what you want without dishonesty.
On the moral side, all communication relies on honesty, and lies in a relationship are like a rotten foundation under a house. No matter how great everything else is, if the foundation crumbles, so does the house.
An open Relationship allows either person to date others while retaining their primary emotional commitment to each other. Open Relationships vary in emotional depth: some are much like Traditional Plus Relationships while others are less intense.
An Open Relationship can allow you to have the commitment and intensity of a High Commitment relationship with more variety, freedom, and ability to explore. Some people find that they enjoy different partners for different activities or different moods. However, this type of Relationship can also be an emotional nightmare. Be honest with yourself and your partner about what you can handle, and don’t be afraid to change your mind if it’s not working out.
You have two major hurdles to building Comfort during your first interaction:
- When you initially meet a woman, she will usually be with a group of people. It can be difficult to build comfort between two virtual strangers when other people are around, observing, or participating in the conversation.
- You might be constrained by the social situation in which you find yourself, either in terms of the amount of time available to you or in terms of the appropriateness of different activities.
Unfortunately, some items on the Basic Comfort List are not useful in your first interaction with a woman.
Multiple Relationships allow you to develop separate, simultaneous relationships with different women.
This is similar to open Relationships, but without necessarily making one woman your “primary” girlfriend.
Generally, your partners will not know or have a relationship with each other. If they do, it’s more like a 3-way (or more) kind of situation. That is an area of specialized expertise and beyond the scope of this guide.
Multiple Relationships have many of the same positives and negatives as open Relationships.
However, not making each other your primary partner makes things a bit more challenging.
Friends with Benefits
Sometimes, you see a woman primarily to have sex with her. Or if you do see her outside the bedroom, it’s usually in a group and does not have romantic connotations. As long as you are both honest about the situation, it can be mutually enjoyable.
Starting a Friends with Benefits relationship
This isn’t that hard. Once you’ve started sleeping together, don’t “date” her. See her for sex, preferably spontaneously. If you are going to do things with her outside of the bedroom, try to make the group activities or very casual. Don’t talk about other women necessarily, but avoid any talk of commitment.
If you make reference to other dates, do so only in passing. You don’t want to turn yourselves into each other’s confidantes. You can be nice, you can care about her, but you shouldn’t be romantic or do things that only a boyfriend would do.