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She Quickly Regained Her Social Status

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She Quickly Regained Her Social Status

How Helen went from low social status to high in just four weeks

Wise Readers,

Many a column has covered how to convey High Social Status, but never has Love Science addressed *recovering* Lost Social Status.  Yet every few days, fresh letters arrive from She Who Lost Social Status By Becoming (sexually or cohabitationally) Involved Too Fast—resulting in a man who decelerated from gung-ho to ho-hum in 60 seconds.  And the questions boil down to this: Can she again become the high social status woman she was when he fell in love? 

Yes.  Helen waited four long years for a proposal that was never coming, no matter how sweet, adoring and available she was.  In just four weeks, she got her social status back and her ring on.  How?  Our correspondence is below…

Letter 1, in which Helen ponders Four Lost Years and whether she can regain High Social Status: 

I knew better than to sleep with my boyfriend right away, but I did.  I promised myself I would never live with another man unless we were married, but Troy and I were talking marriage, so I moved in.  Now –four years later!—no ring is in sight.  So how do I become that high social status woman now? Is it even possible?

Letter 2, in which Duana delivers advice requiring Bravery:

Most women hear wedding bells at move-in, and most men hear the ball-game on TV.  So sayeth the science.  Your experience is, sadly, the norm.  But all is not lost.

First, here’s the good news:  You can become the hard-to-get, high social status woman, and you can wind up married to, and cherished by, the man you’re now with. 

The bad news?  The only way to do it is by leaving your man and seeing whether or not he comes *crawling* back to get you.  And when you leave, you’ll have to be prepared for the possibility that he might let you go with only a slight grumble or two.

But taking the chance of losing him when you leave is worth it, because staying is only going to get you one or more of the following bad things:

a) A man who is half-a**ing his way through your relationship.  Which I hope is not good enough for you.

b) Dumped/cheated on for/with someone else later;

c) An emotional life that is increasingly marked by anger, fear and uneasiness;

d) Zero permanent commitment.

And moving out with “I don’t know; it’s just not working out for me” as your explanation will get you one or more of the following good things:

a) The freedom to get into a real relationship where you are 100% desired and valued (and committed to) if this isn’t it;

b) Commitment and enthusiastic partnership from Troy if he is at all inclined to really want you as his wife;

c) Certainty about his feelings.  Both you and *he* will be sure, after this—you can’t make a man commit, but you can certainly clarify which side of the fence he’s on, pronto.

d) Being cherished rather than taken for granted.

And you need to leave sooner rather than later.  The longer you remain living with any man in an uncommitted relationship, the lower the chances that he will ever marry to you, the higher the chances that he’ll cheat and leave, and the worse it bodes for your emotional health even after you’re married.  Making him more breakfasts, treating him better and better, pleading for marriage?  Are going to get you nowhere.

This takes bravery.  But if you want a happy life, staying will not get you there.

Letter 3, in which Helen muses how to treat Troy after she’s moved out: 

I kind of suspected that would be your answer, but I was hoping there would be an easier way.  You’re right though. This time I have to follow the rules of relationship science.  I do have a further question though.  How receptive should I be to him when he calls or wants to see me?  How standoffish is too standoffish? 

Letter 4, in which Duana advises awaiting the Proposal Maneuver—but Not Dating Troy:

Sorry to have to give you the tough advice, but at this point, it’s important to create a barrier to further contact; that’s what will move you off dead-center and show you whether your man is ever going to commit, and commit whole-heartedly, rather than feeling generous that he’s allowing you to tag along in his life.  Ugh.  A high social status woman would never, never put up with that attitude.  And you’re becoming that high social status woman as of this minute.

How hard-nosed you need to be about this depends on how much commitment to you he’s currently lacking, and how much commitment is good enough for you.  I hope you aim for a man who is entirely devoted to you, knows he’s lucky to have you (not because you’ve told him, but because he feels it in his bones), and adores (not just loves) you.  Any other way of being treated means you and not he will be doing all the heavy lifting in the emotional realm of the relationship, in parenting, and in general.  It means being ignored when you express what you need or want, rather than having a mate who actively seeks ways to please you—the way you do for him.  That’s because men only treat women the way we *want* to be treated when they emotionally connect with how fortunate they are that they *got* to marry us rather than *had* to marry us.

The price of admission is passing up all the men who fail to treat you as you wish to be treated, and to say yes to the one who treats you properly.   You’re fortunate in that you’re leaving before you’re really Done with Troy.  This man has a chance to win you back.

So, if he asks to see you, you might agree—once.  But at that meeting, he needs to have a plan and real enthusiasm for the plan, if you’re to see him again after that.   “Babe, I want you back,” won’t cut it.  Flowers won’t cut it.  “Gee, I’m confused and don’t know what you want” won’t cut it.

Don’t explain anything to him—a man who wants to marry you can figure out he wants to marry you.  A man who wants to marry you can’t be prevented from proposing.  Leading him up to it is proclaiming low social  status and low desirability.  “It’s just not working out for me” is all the information you ever need give.  In this case, Less really is More.

You’re looking for signs of the *willingness* to commit, not the resignedness that he’s going to do what he must so you’ll stick around.  If you sense the latter, just say something along these lines: “I don’t know.  It’s just not working out the way I hoped.  I think I need to get a fresh start.”  Then—observe his behavior, and begin getting a fresh start.  (You should be dating right away, both for your emotional separation and his understanding that other men want you and he is lucky to have had you for even one day.)

If he begs you to return, presents you with a ring and a proposal and a firm wedding date, and says he can’t live without you—by all means, if you really want him, say Yes.  He will never forget having had to Work to have you—it feels good to him because he connects with your high value and status, and conveys your future fidelity to his Genes.  But if he says something amounting to, “Well, if I have to marry you, I guess I will,” then dump him.  Watch Bridget Jones’ Diary a few times—even she eventually figures it out that a half-hearted proposal “just isn’t good enough for me.”

What not to do is date him again.  By this time, he either wants to marry you, or not.  Spending more time is only going to achieve your continued tie to someone who is wasting your time.  No matter how much it hurts, leaving and moving on hurts a lot less than spending your life with someone who is not quite sure he wants you as his wife.

Let me know how it goes.  I wish you strength and success.

Letter 5, in which Helen Gets Her Status Back & Her Ring On:

Remember me?  A mere month ago, I was the Low social Status woman who was waiting, waiting, waiting for a proposal…for four years.    Well, I (mostly) followed your advice, and yesterday I GOT MY RING!!

I didn’t actually have to leave all the way, but I was going to and he knew it.  I found a roommate and told Troy I was leaving and would stay with friends for a few days while getting my things.  The next day Troy wanted to talk.  I didn’t stick to your advice to be vague, but I also didn’t beg him to marry me, whine, snivel, etc.  I calmly informed him that I was leaving because I didn’t want to waste any more of my life living in someone else’s house where there was no commitment.  I stated simply that I needed to move on.

He didn’t outright propose at that moment, but he begged me to stay while I got established, and said he would marry me.  I stayed, but I was resolved that I’d leave if the proposal was long in coming, and doubtless he sensed that.  Yesterday, he knelt down and proposed with a very large, very shiny diamond ring!  Thank you so much for your advice.  I wouldn’t be wearing this ring today if I hadn’t (mostly) followed your advice.  You will be invited to the wedding. Thanks!!!!

Letter 6, in which Helen & Troy are wished every happiness:

Dear Helen Of High Social Status,

In four weeks, you achieved with resolve and bravery what four years of devotion did not: You are engaged to the love of your life, and he is unreserved in his gratitude for, and commitment to, you.  I wish you and your Troy every happiness.

And in the meantime, may others derive inspiration from you, a reader who applied the science and loved to tell the tale.




All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D. and Love Science Media, 2014


Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, coming in January, 2015. She also contributes at Psychology Today and teaches psychology at Austin-area universities. Get a free chapter of Love Factually!

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