I hate to sound like a broken record here. I know you have heard it all before. Times are changing for the worst…people don’t know how to have real relationships now because of the internet…Facebook is ruining society…texting is causing the breakdown of real intimacy in relationships.
It’s been said over and over again by dating experts and lay people alike. But I felt it was imperative to throw my 2 cents, my nickel and my dime into the conversation because although e-maintaining is becoming a very real thing of near pandemic levels you don’t have to let it happen to you. I’m going to explain what e-maintaining is and how to avoid it.
What is E-Maintaining
E-maintaining is when one party uses electronic forms of communication to ‘maintain’ the other party. And by ‘maintain’ I mean give just enough table scraps of attention to that person to keep them on the hook with the least amount of effort. Women can e-maintain men but typically e-maintaining is a tactic used by men to keep multiple women on a string with little commitment on his part.
E-maintaining comes in various forms and different degrees but don’t be fooled it all boils down to the same thing: he aint that into you and he wants to keep you on call at his convenience.
Maybe you guys had one great date and he texts you once a week to say “hey” or “what’s up” maybe he even asks how things are going and uses a little winky face emoticon or perhaps he even addresses you by name and uses lots of exclamation points!!!
And every time you hear from him you feel relieved “oh he does like me, I knew he did” Or you think to yourself “aww he’s thinking of me… and he’s flirting…I’m going to send a winky face back!” But weeks pass by without any face to face interaction.
Or here’s the other scenario. He writes to you on an online dating site. And you two exchange lots of flowery emails. You may have even become friends on Facebook. And he “likes” several of your posts and it makes you feel like the most witty and interesting person ever! Or maybe it gets even hotter and he “likes” or *gasp* comments on one of your pics!! Your heart flutters and you think to yourself. “He thinks I’m hot!” But he never asks you out.
Now it may sound like I’m mocking you but I assure you I’m not. If either of these scenarios have played out in your life you’re not alone. Chances are if you’re a single woman and you’re over the age of 25 you have experienced this at least once in your lifetime if not several times.
It’s not your fault.
The way I laid it out in this article is really blatant and you may be thinking to yourself “oh I would neeeevverr let that happen to me.” But the thing is when it’s actually playing out it comes across a lot more subtle.
Often times a combination of well timed texts, flirty emails, and consistent Facebook contact can feel like a real relationship. But the problem and the danger lies in the fact that you are rarely if ever seeing this person in person.
For a relationship to grow you need to communicate with each other in a way where you can hear each other’s voices and see each other’s non verbals. And this communication needs to consistent. And more importantly if the person really cared about you this communication and in person interaction wouldn’t have to be forced he would want to be around you just as much as you want to be around him.
How to avoid being e-maintained
Don’t settle for an e-relationship because you deserve something real.
The first step in avoiding being e-maintained is to change your psychology. Make a firm commitment in your head today that no man’s little crumbs of attention are good enough for you. Acknowledge that you are better than table scraps. Once you fully commit to and embody this psychology no man will be able to e-maintain you. Once you realize that you are worth more those empty texts that used to excite you won’t even be a blip on your radar.
Next, don’t play into the game. When a guy disappears for a week or more then he pops up with a random text or Facebook ping don’t play into it! See it for what it is. Realize that he is probably bored at the mechanic waiting for his car to get fixed not that he just couldn’t stop thinking about you so he finally reached out to you. Don’t give more of yourself than he is giving to you.
If he texts “what’s up” resist the urge to open up and have an authentic conversation via text. He sent an empty text so you should send an empty text right back if you even respond at all.
This isn’t a matter of playing games or playing hard to get. It’s just not a good idea to be investing your time and energy into a conversation that the other person is not invested in at all. It will simply cause you to imagine an intimacy that’s not there. So even if it’s something seemingly affectionate like a “hey babe” don’t play into it. Give back to him exactly what he is giving to you which is nothing.
Lastly, set clear expectations early on. When you first give a guy your number indicate that you would like him to call you. Make it clear that you intend for him to communicate with you like an adult who is interested in you which means picking up the phone when you two can’t meet in person. You don’t have to be abrasive about this you can be flirty and playful but make sure the message gets across.
If you meet the guy online after emailing back and forth a few times don’t be afraid to state that you are no longer interested in emailing if you two aren’t going to meet in person. Usually if it gets to the point where you have to say that it’s not a good sign but many a man has gotten away with e-maintaining far too long and will straighten right up if they meet a woman like you who will raise the standard. And if he doesn't then kudos to you for screening him out early on by setting a higher standard.
Now’s your time. Rise up and raise the bar, girlfriend for all womankind!! Don’t let yourself be e-maintained again.
Good luck and Happy Dating!
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