Let Him Invest In You is one of the biggest mantra of women’s dating books.
Most of these books have in common the idea that the more you get and the least you give, the better it is.
Why Letting Him Invest More
The idea of letting him invest heavily is that:
- You weed out the non serious guys (players etc.)
- You’ll be in control and won’t fall for him too soon
- He will like you more
Why It (Kinda) Works
Weeding Out Players
Men with lots of sexual experience are more aware of investment balance and more wary of chasing dynamics. So it’s true they are less likely to stick around.
Control And Not Falling In Love
We tend to like less what’s very available (Cialdini), so investing little while receiving lots will “safeguard” your feelings indeed.
He Will Like You More
Studies show that givers feel more committed to the recipient after giving (Horan & Booth-Butterfield, 2010).
This is probably partially because of sunk costs (Coleman, 2009) and back rationalization (check Incognito by David Eagleman).
But in a nutshell, it’s true: the more one gives to you, the more he values you.
There are exception (especially in difficult markets, read The Eligible Bachelor Paradox), but overall the theory does make sense.
The question though is, who does it work with?
Why You Get Stuck With Average
The Rule of Social Exchange postulates that good relationships tend to reach a balance of value -who you are- and investment -what you do for the other-.
One corollary is that when one side has some major lack in overall value, he must make it up with “external value injections”.
Investing is indeed a way of making up for a lack of value.
And that’s why only men who feel they’re not good enough for you will over-invest.
When they cannot bring enough value with who they are, then they throw on the table different kind of extra services, such as:
- Wining and dining
- Carrying bags
- Fixing stuff
- Ready at your beck and call
- Emotional tamponing
On average men who invest a lot tend to be less experienced, less valuable and more providers type of guys. In short, they often don’t know any better.
Here’s example which always cracks me up. When he says “I thought I did everything right” he partially refers to investing a lot:
Cooler Guys Will Drop You
The problem of course is with men who are around your same value or higher (not uncommon: men are happy to date lower or horizontally):
These guys will invest the first time and stay watchful. Then they see nothing is coming from you. And what will they think when you expect more without giving?
Bruce Bryan of Never Chase Men Again hits the nail on the head when he says that men with a backbone will flee very soon if you demand without giving.
Getting The Best Guys
What’s the alternative then?
The alternative is reciprocal investment escalation.
Let him do the first step, and make sure you reward him and make him feel good, which will encourage more giving. Give something too, which will reassure him you’re in it as a contributor as well.
And the virtuous cycle will feed on itself.
This is not pop psychology: research shows that partners in equitable relationships are happier and last longer (Equity Theory of Love).
See here an example of time progression:
Reciprocal Investment Blueprint
- He: buys you a drink
- You: thank him and get to know him
- He: invites you out and pays for dinner
- You: thank him. At the end of the date warmly hug him, look him in the eyes and tell him you’re happy you two met
- He: invite you to some event
- You: you offer him a round of drinks and toast with him to such a nice company (building him up)
- He: invites you somewhere or to a home cooked meal
- You: bring him a gift with little money value but that says “I thought about you”
That’s how you show him you’re a keeper. That’s a woman he feels he can rely on for life, which is indeed a major trait all the male authors highlighted in women’s dating books.
Emotional investment is a subset of overall investment, but it’s the most important.
Bruce Bryan recommends you open up first and show your vulnerability. If he does the same, he’s a keeper. If no, you can move on.
I like the idea of making the first move and gauging the reaction. But whoever makes the first major overture, the pattern is the same: one step each.
The relationship tower is a common building effort. One brick at a time, one brick each.
The idea in most dating books for women is that you must make him invest as much as possible and he’ll fall head over heels for you.
While that’s true, I explain in this post that mostly works for the least outstanding of men.
And while you do want him to give, you should always take warmly, make him feel about giving and give a little bit back.
Keep escalating in lockstep towards mutual investment and commitment until you step together to the alter (if that’s what you want).
Why you shouldn’t use sex as a bargaining chip.