Tag Archives: ladder theory

Forget the ladder theory

15 Dec

For those who are unfamiliar with the “ladder theory”, it’s a common explanation for why it is difficult to turn a friendship into a romance. Here’s how it goes:

Supposedly, every woman has two ‘ladders’ for men to climb–one to advance in friendship, another to advance in a romance. The ladder metaphor stems from the idea that advancing as a friend and as a romantic interest is mutually exclusive: someone who’s half-way up the friendship ladder will not be able to cross over into a romance without first going down or, more often than not, taking a nasty fall. Once you’re established in the girl’s mind in the “friend” category, you’re pretty much stuck. Hence the exclusively male lament, “What do you mean, I’m important to you, but you won’t go out with me?”

To me, guys who subscribe to the ladder theory lack imagination in their relationships. For these guys, relationships with women exist in the binary: either a girlfriend, or a friend. It doesn’t occur to them that many couples start out as friends, and good romantic partners are in fact good friends as well. Continue reading