A girl I met from through a marriage bureau, got drunk on an evening out and asked to be invited to my bachelor pad. There she asked for sex and we went all the way. The next day she proudly shared her sexual exploits with her ex-boyfriend. I was put off, but the sex being good, we jumped into bed again. After a few days of sex every night, she asked me what I thought about marriage. My boss who is also a good friend, warned me about going slow with her, and to not give a commitment for marriage. She repeatedly discusses her previous sexual experiments with me, and also implied that she’s ‘had it better’ in the past. I think I might be setting myself up for a humiliating time were I to be with her, but then the sex is too good and I have been a bachelor for too long. She’s also brattish at times, and uses crass language while referring to her mother who’s eager to see her married. My friend says that the sex is a carrot being dangled before me to get me to commit, and that I should not commit. The fact is that I might lose all this good sex if I don’t commit. I’m clear and yet confused. What should I do ?
Ans: It’s not uncommon for a woman to use sex as a way to ensnare a man. It’s a common entrapment method where the man’s hunger for sex is used as a bargaining chip by certain women to get him to ‘do what she says’ if he wants to continue to enjoy the privilege of having sex with her. In Ivan Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning, an experiment was conducted with a dog where a bell would be rung and food would be promptly presented thereafter to the dogs. The bell is of no significance to the dog nor does but when accompanied with the availability food, as association would get formed in the mind of the animal. Subsequently, after some time, merely the sound of the bell would get the dogs to salivate out of hunger – as they learnt to associate the bell sound with being fed.
Interpersonal dynamics between human beings also follow similar associations. There are subtle reward and punishment paradigms at play in all relationships. The logic being – “If you do this…. You get this” OR “If you don’t do this… this is what you don’t get…” It is possible that in her mind, your compliance with her humiliation of you is associated with the availability of sex since you have been starved of it. The next time you are humiliated, your brain may have accepted the humiliation as the ‘usual way’ since it means that you have access to her for sex if you let her do what she wants and says what she says.
This is a most unfortunate way to live. If you do not stand up for yourself when humiliated, the humiliation continues and you continue to feel terrible about being treated poorly. This sets a poor tone for a mutually respectful relationship. Agenda setting can often become skewed to meet the agendas of the dominating partner who thinks that he or she has more leverage over the other partner. This makes for an imbalanced playing field where bullying and subterfuge may take root.
While you are having a good bit of fun with this girl in bed, know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. She has her expectations and you have yours. If her brattishness and crass language isn’t proof enough to have put your off, her comparing of you to the ‘other man before you came in her life’ could possibly be a way of showing you that she is a woman who gets what she wants under all circumstances as she tests you out.
If she nonchalantly compared you to another man with whom she has had sex with in the past, it could also very well be that she’s ‘shopping’ for a man to make herself feel or look complete. This is the opposite of a woman seeking companionship and growth so that she can embark on the adventure of life together with someone in a way that adds real value in her and her partner’s life.
The possibility may also exist that her enmeshment with you has more to do with her need to rebel against her ex, control or punish men, get her mother to shut up or even to satiate her ego or lust for ‘a nice catch’ who’s guaranteed to bid her calling and dance to her tunes. These possibilities exist based on the facts you have stated.
The fact that she shares her sexual exploits with her ex-boyfriend could mean that she’s still not over him and that she has a need to ‘show him’ that she’s moved on from him or to show you that she has other options in case you disappoint her.
There is the possibility that you are merely a pawn in a larger emotional benchmarking exercise for her. Your presence in her life may be one of a cushion. An emotional and psychological cushion that shows her that she’s still ‘valid in the marriage market’ or perhaps even a knight in shining armour who merely exists to take care of her.
Relationships require a lot of patience and negotiation. Based on what you have learnt here and from your friend, if you now think things are going too fast, take a few steps back to evaluate the kind of life you are likely to lead if this woman (based on your description of her) becomes your partner for life.
(Aman R Bhonsle is a qualified Psychosocial Analyst and a Professional Youth Mentor with specialisation in Transactional Analysis and REBT. He is available for consultation at the Heart To Heart Counselling Centre.)