I’m a 30-year-old professional woman who’s been dating a professional man, 35, on and off, for almost 10 years. I’ll call him “R.”
I have a lot of respect for him. Periodically, our respective careers have taken us to different countries. But then we end up in the same city again and resume our relationship.
I’ve been pressured lately by friends and family to get married. I like R very much and enjoy his company enormously. He seems the kind of man I SHOULD marry. So, on a recent getaway together, I proposed to him.
He was a little shocked, but very nicely said that he “isn’t the marrying kind. Not now, at least.”
We finished our holiday together without a problem. But since then, I haven’t heard from him .
I’m afraid that I’ve scared him off. I still want him as a boyfriend, or “friend.” How do I renew our special relationship?
Confused and Afraid
He has all the manners and style of a serial romancer… but not a closer.
He loves himself most, for now. He gets the companionship and benefits he wants, without having to deal with any heavy compromises, sticky issues, in-laws, or lifestyle changes with children… so far.
It won’t be a woman who’s better, prettier, or smarter than you who gets him. It’ll just be whomever he’s with if the time comes that he wants a child or fears aging alone.
Meanwhile, it’d be unwise to resume dating him as a “friend” – especially not one with benefits.
You’ll devalue yourself, and come to resent him for only wanting “half-a-loaf” when you were willing to offer the whole deal of partnership.
Move on. Next time, you should be able to spot a habitual dater by the second encounter.
I’m 42, dating a man who’s 50 but doesn’t seem to know the basic niceties of dealing with a grown woman, even after seeing each other for several months and being intimate.
Example: He called me on a Sunday to chat, but never asked what I was doing. Then suddenly he had to hang up for some reason.
Confused, I called him and asked if everything was okay. He said it was just his guy friend suggesting they go see a movie together. My “oh, that’s nice,” was dripping with sarcasm.
A half-hour later, he called back saying that maybe he should’ve asked me if I also wanted to see the movie. But I could join them at the theatre; they were still in traffic driving there.
Maybe I’m stupid for agreeing to go, but I like the guy. I just wish he knew how to deal with a relationship. We’re both divorced and not looking for marriage, we both are still on a dating site (it’s how we met) but I am wanting a respectful connection.
Not Amused But Hanging In
At least he seems to be recognizing some mistakes, even if his “aha” clicks in after the fact.
He called back. He invited you along. He’s comfortable to have you be with his friend. All those signals – a bit delayed – are still positive.
Meanwhile, you’re both still “shopping” for who else is out there by staying on the dating site. So, it’s possible that he isn’t any more sure of you than you are of him.
Time to discuss whether you’re both willing to commit to exclusive dating, without marriage as the necessary goal. It’s a tricky talk to have, but it’s soon needed.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who bought his high-earning “girlfriend” a $150 gift-card for yoga pants, which turned her off (Feb.15):
Reader – “I find the situation perplexing - but intimate relationships often are. He may never get the answer he seeks nor the relationship he really wanted with this woman.
“Gift cards are tricky - they require effort on the part of the gifted. They aren’t as simple as an actual gift item.
“Perhaps a more simple gift at this stage would’ve been appropriate - and when/if they are at a different place an offer to buy her some yoga pants together. (Still, when body image is involved I think it’s best to err on the side of caution and not go there.)”
Ellie – “I agree. But this was really about her not wanting him to spend more money than he should, when she was giving less love than he thought.”
Tip of the day:
You only need to meet one serial romancer to know the next one… and expect nothing more.