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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do I Progress in a Relationship From Girlfriend to Wife?

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Dr. Zoe Shaw, A Year of Self-Care

‘Nurse Lauren’ Asked:

Hello, I found the article you wrote about wanting a proposal and not getting it and how you shouldn’t feel bad about it just because you want to be married was really wonderful. There’s so much out there about [how] oh you can’t make someone do something and you know you should just decide if you want them in your life and accept it and I just don’t think that’s really very fair. My specific question is regarding the four levels I’m just wanting to make sure that I’m not doing wifey things when I’m still in girlfriend status can you help me learn more about that.

Dr. Zoe Answered:

Women who find themselves stuck in a relationship phase are likely making the mistake of acting like they are in the stage of a relationship that they aren’t. It’s easy to rush to wifey when you’re really into him. But slow your roll if you want him to value you and take this relationship all the way down the aisle.

Here’s how you should show up in the 4 stages of a relationship:

Level 1: Dating
When you are dating someone, you should be allowing him to pursue you. Women should not start off pursuing a man unless that’s how you want the relationship to look long term. I don’t suggest it, because it’s a recipe for pain. Often women will start off pushing the relationship and get upset later when he isn’t pursuing anything deeper. He never was. That was all you.

This isn’t a game, but there are some rules. At the dating level, you need to decide if he’s worth considering as relationship material. But you need to let him take the reins. If he isn’t pursuing you, then he’s not that into you and it’s already time to move on.

In the dating phase, don’t be the first one to text, call or suggest dates. And don’t even think about sex. That’s a fast track to an unlabeled situationship.

Level 2: Girlfriend Role
A girlfriend’s role is a little more casual and there is a little more give and take. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you own him. You don’t. It’s okay if you call him, suggest dates and meet him halfway (but not more!) on maintaining the relationship. If you notice that you are doing the heavy lifting, back off.

Level 3: Fiancée
A fiancée is not a wife. You have each stated an intent to commit, but no commitment has actually been made. Don’t get this confused. Many women feel like the deal has been sealed. My great grandmother used to say, “There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Live your life accordingly.” This definitely applies to a fiancé situation.

As a fiancée, you should continue to be just as independent as you were when you were his girlfriend. No moving in together. That’s always a bad idea. Research supports this. And it’s a great way to get side tracked into forever fiancée. No combining money, investing together, buying properties, lending money or purchasing businesses together.

No taking care of his basic needs. That’s not your place. You should be talking about how all of this will look in a marriage, though. You can take steps towards setting this up, but none of it should happen until he puts a ring on it (that’s the wedding ring, not the engagement ring).

Level 4: Wife
A wife supports her husband completely in all aspects of his life. She commits her mind, body and heart to him. She expects the same in return. A wife is transparent with her finances and is willing to combine them as necessary because they are one unit. A wife takes care of her husband’s physical and emotional needs and expects the same from him. The relationship is reciprocal. Neither is dependent on the other, but there is a healthy interdependence.

Those are the differences between the four levels of a relationship. Hope this helps.

You’ve got this! It just takes a little grit and grace.

Have more questions about this? Don’t miss this video from Dr. Zoe herself!

Don’t miss this one!

You might like these articles with more relationship advice for women:

If Your Man Didn’t Propose (But Should Have) Read This
Is Marriage Just a Piece of Paper? or Is It Something More?
Why You Should Just Have That Hard Conversation (And How to Do It)
Ask Dr. Zoe – He Asked Me to Marry Him Now He Won’t Set a Date
How Breaking Up Made Me a Stronger Woman
He Brings Me Flowers, but Is That Enough?
Ask Dr. Zoe – Starting Over After a Failed Relationship

Establishing Healthy Boundaries in the Grit and Grace Life
How to Know if Your Boyfriend is a Charity Case

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#gritandgracelife

You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Why Hasn’t Your Boyfriend Proposed or Set a Date? With Dr. Zoe Shaw – 140

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Dr. Zoe is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert who recently jumped out of a perfectly good plane just for the experience.

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