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Just Not That Into Her?
Dear Dating Coach,
I am a 30 something, single female who has been seeing a divorced father for two months. I am the one who always initiates contact and makes all the plans for our time together. He is always telling me how busy he is with work and his kids and that it is very hard for him to take the lead- ever. If that isn't bad enough, he frequently either cancels at the last moment or we have to end our date prematurely because something comes up, especially with one of his children. When we do get together, our plans are around his schedule, and mine takes a back seat. I know his kids need to come first, but I'd like to be at least on his list of priorities. I'm actually reluctant to make plans for fear he will back out at the last minute.
I'm concerned that my frequent calls and requests to see each other will scare him away. I really like him and don't want to stop seeing him. If he took some steps towards me I would feel comfortable backing off, but this never seems to happen. Any suggestions for how I could handle this? --Wants to be Pursued
I have a question. What exactly are YOU getting out of this relationship? You have only known him for two months, which is considered a short amount of time, even for couples who spend increasing amounts of good, quality time together. I have to assume he is meeting some need for you and that is why you have stayed. However, I wonder if this need is a healthy one, and if it is a sign that now might be a good time to pull back and do some soul searching and reflecting on who you are attracted to and why.
I suspect you may have a history of past relationships in which the guys you were involved with were unavailable either emotionally or physically. If so, why did you stay? What eventually led to you leaving, or are you the one who is usually left? After you have some answers to these questions, make a list of what you want and need from a future partner, and hold this list up to the light, alongside what this current man is offering you. Then allow yourself to see what is missing as you begin to explore the reasons why you expect and ask for so little--even though you are willing to put forth some real effort and caring. When a guy (or woman) is really interested, they let you know by what they say and do. When we want something badly we make time for it and make sacrifices to get it, instead of offering excuses, followed by inaction and silence.
The reason it is so important to stop now and begin to explore these kinds of questions and answers is that to not do so could put you at risk of being in a marriage with someone who is just not there with you and for you--which would lead to either a life of loneliness and resentment or to divorce court.
(from February 2008)
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"Attraction and chemistry"
Toni Coleman, LCSW
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