This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man" by Steve Harvey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Why does Steve Harvey say it’s so important to wait 90 days before having sex in a new relationship? How should you approach the first three months of a relationship?
According to Steve Harvey, the 90-day rule is crucial in a new relationship for numerous reasons. But also, how you spend those first 90 days is almost just as important. It’s within this time period that you need to get to know each other better, look for red flags, and find out his intentions.
Keep reading for more on Steve Harvey’s 90-day rule.
Steve Harvey’s 90-Day Rule
Steve Harvey’s 90-day rule may seem like a long time to go without sex, especially for your man. But this time is not a test of willpower. Three months gives you enough time to experience many different scenarios with your man so you can get a good grasp of who he is.
If you’ve been seeing someone for three months, you’ve had the chance to ask your five questions (see our article on “5 Questions to Ask a New Boyfriend”) and observe his actions and reactions. You know whether or not he’s punctual, is considerate about your time and feelings, gets along with your friends, is willing to introduce you to his friends, and is creative in how he woos you. You’ve communicated your standards and have enough examples to know whether he is willing and able to abide by them. Basically, by the end of the probationary period, you have everything you need to determine whether this is the right man for you.
Another reason 90 days is so effective is that any man will be patient for a few weeks, even a month or so. He’ll be the perfect gentleman, which may make you believe he’s worthy of receiving your benefits. But if he’s not interested in you for more than just sex, his patience will wane after a while, and his true self will come out. Ninety days is enough time to weed out the imposters from the real thing. And you’re looking for the real thing.
Part of the male playbook includes convincing women that there’s no need to wait to have sex. They say that sex won’t change how they feel and that you can’t expect them to wait forever. First, three months is not forever. Second, men will do or say just about anything to have sex, so any proclamations on the topic should be taken with a grain of salt. Third, men are fully capable of waiting, and if they tell you differently, they’re lying. This type of man is not the man you want to build a life with.
How to Spend Your 90 Days
Use the probationary period wisely. You have to be proactive. Put him through some light situations to see how he reacts. Explore your man like an investigator gathering evidence. What you uncover will help you know whether or not he’s worth it.
There are a million things you can do together during those 90 days to build intimacy, and the following month-to-month guidelines will help you cross the finish line.
The First Month
The first 30 days of your relationship are magical. You’re going to want to give up everything to spend time with him, but that’s a mistake. Don’t drop your friends, hair appointments, or important obligations to spend time with your man. When you set boundaries and continue living your life, the times you are together become more meaningful and focused on getting to know each other better.
Here are five things to do during the first month to keep the journey interesting and fruitful:
- Dive into his likes and dislikes. Keep a running list in your mind of what he likes and doesn’t like so you can understand how to make him happy.
- Work out the little things that could grow into big problems. Small annoyances in the beginning can become deal breakers later on. Work out these problematic traits now to avoid trouble down the road. His interest in you is piqued, so he’ll be more open to learning what he can do to keep you happy.
- Stay firm in your standards. If you’ve made it past the first few dates, your man has decided your high price is worth it. Don’t waver during this first month just because you are floating above the clouds.
- Become friends. You may be hot and bothered now, but when the novelty wears off, you’ll want someone you can talk to and laugh with. Form a friendship with your man so you’ll have real things to talk about and can form a real connection.
- Create strong lines of communication. Create an environment for sincere person-to-person conversations so you can learn what his capacity for heartfelt discussions is and how he feels the most comfortable communicating. You can also establish some boundaries, such as whether late-night phone calls are appropriate.
The Second Month
You’ve been on several dates, he’s shown that he respects your standards, and you’ve learned more about what makes this man tick. During Month 2, you can deepen your knowledge about who he is and strengthen your bond a bit more.
Here are five things to do during the second month to stoke the fires hotter:
- Start showing appreciation for small gestures. A man loves to feel appreciated for his efforts to make you happy, and the more gratitude you convey, the more he’ll try to keep earning it.
- Take your relationship to church. If you or your man are religious or spiritual, now is a good time to explore these deeper levels of each other’s lives.
- Bring more adventure to your interactions. You’ve been to several restaurants and movies by now, but you don’t want your dating life to get stale. Find new things to do together to expand your mutual world and keep things fresh.
- Take notes on his behavior. Your man is getting more comfortable with you, and as his comfort level rises, his true nature will reveal itself more. Pay attention to small things, like how he treats waiters or whether he gets weird phone calls he won’t answer in front of you. And observe how he reacts to high-pressure situations and the word “no” when he asks for sex.
- Let him protect and provide for you. Start leaning on your man in small ways. Let him know you need him to see whether he rises to the occasion. Tell him about problems to see if he tries to help. Share bad news or grief with him to see if he comforts you.
Month 2 is the time to start looking for red flags. If you notice any of these signs, you may want to reconsider whether you enter the final phase of your 90-day plan.
- Flag 1: He only schedules dates when it’s convenient for him.
- Flag 2: He is distracted when you talk on the phone, drops calls, doesn’t respond to your calls for more than a day, or refuses to talk on the phone.
- Flag 3: He won’t introduce you to his friends or important people in his life.
- Flag 4: He is reticent to talk about his past.
- Flag 5: He isn’t affectionate in public or spends more time talking to others than to you.
- Flag 6: Your relationship negatively changes after you say “no” to sex.
The Third Month
If you’ve made it to the final month, you’re feeling confident that this man respects you and is worthy of your heart and body. But before you start picking out lingerie, open up your world a bit more to ensure he is truly worthy of your benefits.
Here are four things to do during the third month to get you to the finish line:
- Get a second opinion. Include one or two close friends or family members in your activities to gauge their impression of him. You’ve had your love blinders on for two months, and you may not be seeing everything there is to see about your man.
- Communicate about your past intimacies. You need to know his sexual history before you become part of it. If he scoffs or is cagey about his past, he’s not proving himself worthy of your love.
- Include him more in your personal life. Leave the sexy dress, high heels, and flirty behavior behind so he can see you in real life. Bring him into the parts of your life that enrich your soul and make you who you are.
- Be clear about his intentions. Three months of dating for you has been preparation for a lasting relationship, but has he thought of that time in the same way? You’ve gotten through the hard part of waiting, so don’t rush the final steps. Be sure he is the right man before you invite him into your bed.
You’ve Made It to Day 91! What Now?
You set the most romantic scene possible for your go-all-the-way date, but what happens if the sex isn’t good? Was all the time and effort spent getting to know each other a waste? Not at all. Two people are not always going to come together perfectly the first time, especially after three months, when the build-up may have created pressure.
The relationship you’ve built is about more than just sex. Hopefully, you’ve created an environment where honest communication is part of how you relate to each other. Ignore all the rules about talking to your man about sex and open up to him. He doesn’t want to continue disappointing you in bed and will be grateful to know what you like and don’t like during sex. Approach the conversation with consideration and affection, and be grateful for his feedback.
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Here's what you'll find in our full Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man summary:
- How to navigate the adult dating scene
- What men need, how they think, and how they behave when it comes to relationships
- How women can gain an advantage and find the right man to fulfill their desires