1. Let him miss the fuck out of you.
“The trick to locking a guy down is simple: Prove how awesome you are, and then disappear suddenly. I threw the guy I was quasi-dating for months an amazing birthday party with all his friends. It was a special night. The next weekend, I left town without any warning so he could realize just how much less fun life was without me around. By the time I got back mid week, he was thirsting for me hardcore. He brought up the whole ‘what are we?’ thing my first night back and said he wanted to date me officially. And that was that.”
— Marissa, 27
2. Prove how adventurous you are in bed (even if you aren’t).
“Three months into casually hooking up with the guy I wanted to boyfriend, I suggested a threesome. I didn’t want to have a threesome, but I knew that this guy’s main relationship fear was being exclusive to one woman sexually. By introducing the fact that I was willing to invite other women into bed with us (even though I wasn’t, really), I nipped that fear right in the butt. We’ve been together for two years now and he hasn’t even mentioned another third party sexcapade. Mission accomplished!”
— Cathryn, 25
3. Pretend you’re the one who’s afraid to commit.
“So many dudes are terrified of commitment on the surface. They think they know what they want, but they obviously don’t. When I met a guy I could see myself dating long-term, I used a little reverse psychology to prove my theory. From the beginning, I told him just how hesitant I was to be exclusive. I played the commitment phobe—and it worked. He had a history of humping and dumping, but within three months he was giving me a speech about how great it would be to do the relationship thing. It’s been three years since.”
— Nola, 31
4. Position yourself as America’s most wanted woman.
“The best way to establish that you’re worth dating is to make it clear that there are other people out there who desperately want you. A few weeks into having sex with a self proclaimed ‘relationship challenged’ man, I pretended that I was dating someone else too. I created the illusion that there was another guy really interested in a serious relationship with me. All I had to do was edit my best friend’s name in my phone to ‘Gary’ and instruct her to send some carefully timed texts. It worked out even better than I thought it would, probably because we all want what everyone else wants.”
— Philippa, 33
5. Go 1950s on his ass and clean up after him.
“Listen, I fully realize that a woman’s role isn’t being a man’s maid. But guess what? Everyone likes a clean house. If you’re sleeping with a man who’s clueless about how to keep his place neat, trust me that he’s going to want you around if you start cleaning shit up, no matter how commitment-phobic he is. It’s a fact that I tidied my way to my man’s heart, and I’m proud of it.”
— Flynn, 30
6. Pray that he gets sick so you can nurse him back to health.
“I got lucky because the guy I wanted to couple up with got massively ill three weeks after the first night we hooked up. We were in college at the time, and being sick in a dorm room is the worst. I took the opportunity to nurse him back to health, staying by his bedside instead of going out, bringing him tea and soup and all that. By the time his nose goo went from green to clear, he was practically begging me to be his girlfriend.”
— Lauren, 23
7. Exploit the mom loophole to his heart.
“Every guy I’ve ever met is a sucker for his mother. So when I started hooking up with a guy I wanted to be in a serious relationship with who seemed set in his playboy ways, I decided to go through his mom. In a moment of genius, I ‘accidentally’ mistook his phone for mine and picked it up when I saw his mom calling (he was in the bathroom). We ended up talking for twenty straight minutes. From then on she started asking him about me regularly, and a few weeks later, he asked me out properly.”
— Ginny, 26
8. Stage a few “random” encounters.
“When you’re trying to take a casual sex thing to the next level, it’s important to force a man to interact with you like a real human being during the daytime. If you want to be part of a man’s life for real, the first thing you should do is commit his entire schedule to memory. Then you can make sure to bump into him a few times within a few weeks or so. I’ve been dating the guy whose schedule I carefully manipulated for five years now.”
— Mary, 32
9. Weasel your way in by impressing his friends.
“I could tell right away that the guy I met on Tinder was obsessed with his ‘bros,’ so the first night we met up at a bar and not his apartment I made sure to impress them. I was my awesomest, wittiest self. Sure enough, they told him to text me the next time they were all hanging out and I joined. Two weeks later, I earned the girlfriend label I was aiming for. I became part of his crew because his friends approved. It’s funny how impressionable grown men are.”
— Willow, 29
10. Demonstrate the upsides of a real relationship firsthand.
“Men are trained to think of relationships as a trap, so you have to show them the benefits of being a couple proactively. I did really thoughtful things like buy him milk and eggs and other necessities right before he ran out of them. I also did a few loads of laundry and cooked him breakfast in bed a few times. Nothing drastic. Just the stuff people do for each other when they’re together to prove how nice life can be as a team.”
— Emma, 23
11. Tap into the power of suggestion.
“People tend to believe what they’re told. Since society tells men that relationships are hard work and that they suck and that monogamy is a bore, of course they avoid them like syphilis. When I decided I wanted to date the man I was seeing casually, I started pointing out the nice schmoopy couples on the street, and I started saying really positive things about relationships in general. I also sent him relationship positive articles to read. It sounds crazy manipulative, but experience taught me that commitment wary dudes need a big push.”
— Daphne, 30
12. Fake it til you make it.
“My approach was to start acting like a girlfriend would before I was technically his girlfriend. When we were out at the bar, for instance, I’d stay by his side and put him in the position of having to introduce me to his friends. I didn’t linger too much so that it was annoying, but I definitely didn’t shy away, either. It’s a delicate balance, but it works if you keep at it.”
— Quinn, 25