Every time a woman asks for advice on how to go from FWB to commitment, we tell her “You are a plate, he isn’t interested, move on and date with intent.” It’s not bad advice. It’s safe. It’s mostly effective and if we are being time conscious, it’s quick.
If anyone deviates from the party line, we yell “Blue Pill” or “Plate School”.
I’ve never in my life dated with intent and I didn’t start doing it with the man who became my husband. Each relationship is different but I think we miss something when we jump to advising women in every case to bail.
As someone who went from “plate” to wife I want to share the broad strokes of my early relationship. Don’t take this as advice, my situation may be different from yours, you are not me and your man is not my man. Do take it as an indication that there is no one way to lock down a man. Take all the tools in the toolbox and find yourself the best you can manage with whatever amount of tolerance for risk you can muster.
My Gay BFF (hereafter Patrick) and I had a standing dinner each week. We’d get together and cook something fabulous while drinking an unhealthy amount of wine. One week he asked if he could bring a friend (hereafter Hank for his love of Ayn Rand) from college over and that I would like him.
Now, Patrick has terrible taste in men so his stamp of approval on Hank meant that my future husband started out with negative standing as far as I was concerned. Patrick further muddied our first meeting by being a hot mess and drawing my ire.
When the boys finally made it to my apartment, I was knee deep in a confusing recipe (thanks Patrick!) and not ready to think sexy thoughts about anyone.
Then the two of them stood in the middle of my kitchen and took their shirts off to compare abs. Let’s just say, I noticed. Hank, noticed me noticing, gave me a devilish grin and said “We should have sex, it would be really great”.
My brain yelled at me “He’s a player, not a long-term prospect and no good can come of this” and I politely declined (I might have laughed).
From that week on, Hank joined Patrick and I for dinner once a week. We became friends. Over the year I learned (let’s call it inadvertent vetting): he was not a dirty commie (this was most of Patrick’s circle at the time), he was completing his engineering degree, and he could hold a conversation. I also learned that he was rarely without a girl but as far as I could tell there was no overlap.
Every once in a while, he reminded me that if I slept with him, it would be very good.
He talked about the women he was seeing and brought over at least one girlfriend. My girl game kicked in that night, and I was dazzling and a lot of fun. His girlfriend was a wet noodle in comparison. We had a few moments here and there – most notably in a gay karaoke bar -- but I wanted a friend not a hook up.
Until the day I didn’t
Patrick and I had our annual falling out and our weekly dinners went on hiatus. Hank, for reasons of his own, decided to repair our friendship. He called me up on a night we normally had dinner and told me we were going for a ride and to dress cute. I responded in a typical giddy, submissive girl way which is to say I giggled, threw on my leather pants and complied.
He pulled up after work on his motorcycle (which I had never ridden) and we went for a drink in the nearby city. We also happened to find ourselves in Patrick’s neighborhood and some fences were mended.
The tingles were there – aided by a riding style that forced me to keep close to him. I also had all the information I had gathered from a year of friendship. I liked him. I thought he was a good guy. And so I tumbled into bed with him.
He was right, it was great.
I also still thought he was entertaining other women but I chose not to care. Over the next several months, we saw each other regularly. I cooked for him whenever he was around. I offered sex and friendship which he seemed to enjoy.
I kept my life going and didn’t look to him for my every bit of entertainment. Once I invited him over for sex, only to kick him out so I could go babysit. I had other things going on after all. He loved that I wanted him enough to sneak in sex and then go about my day.
Official and exclusive
After going out for dinner with my ex one night he sat me down for a talk. He was not seeing anyone else and if I was then he was ending things. My heart sang.
I couldn’t give him my virginity but I could give him a trust that I’d never granted another person. I took ecstasy with him one night, a thing I would never have done with anyone else. I was the girl who didn’t drink at frat parties or smoke pot with anyone. Drugs were anathema to me. He didn’t betray my trust, guided me through and made me feel truly loved and cared for.
We moved in.
I worried that he was using me for my apartment. I thought maybe he was still going to move to be with someone else when he graduated.
I baked and brought him treats while he worked the overnight shift. I gave up my dining room table to be a desk. I cleaned up after him and did the food shopping so he could juggle school and work.
We drove out to meet his father – a man that few of his friends had ever met. I was patient while he reconnected with Dad and game when they taught me how to shoot.
When his final year of school necessitated moving, I panicked. He told me “I’ve been making these plans with you in mind. I plan to have you in my life and this is the best move for both of us.”
There were bumps in the road and I certainly felt the stress of each friend getting engaged. Every time I got upset, I’d ask myself “do you want to be married or do you want to be with him?” My answer to myself was always with him.
We were married after six years together. We met when I was 23, started dating at 24 and married at 30.
There are a few points that are important. I knew his character. I knew from his attitude about past girlfriends that he wanted a relationship. He always indicated that we were progressing even when I didn’t feel that way.
I also took a big risk. If I wanted marriage & kids more than I wanted the man, then I could have gotten to 30 and had to break things off.
While I always tried to be the best girlfriend possible to Hank, I fell short often and we were not perfect by a long shot. What I thought a man wanted was inaccurate in a lot of cases and I fell into my mother’s bad habits not infrequently. This report is all the good stuff and I am an unreliable narrator. I can’t help but think we’d have married sooner than 6 years if I had discovered red pill ideas earlier in life.
And that’s all. That’s my story of going from a plate to a wife. It’s a stressful, emotional path to choose. I wouldn’t recommend it to my nieces and I’d tell anyone walking it to take care. You have to be your best, and bring your best to the table every day. You have to be sure the man is honorable, and the signs of commitment must be there.
If you want the man more than the marriage it might be worth the risk.