Jess, I have been seeing a guy for a few months now. We have been on and off since high school and just recently started dating more seriously. (Meaning we’re both putting in an equal amount of effort) my worry is that I feel like I am making myself too available. We have not slept together yet, and the one time we got close to he stopped it at the last minute. I feel like he has me in the palm of his hand! How do I pull away and make him chase me without making him think I’m no longer interested?
I have a feeling that you two have been playing the upperhand game for a while now… maybe that is why you have been on and off for so long. At some point, you have to stop making a guy chase you so the real relationship can begin. That means that there has to be equal effort and reciprocation on your part – so no one should have the upperhand anymore. It might be that your relationship has never blossomed into what it could be because just as it begins to, someone freaks out, pulls away or ends it in an effort to keep the pursuit alive. Instead of being afraid of the post-infatuation stage, where no one is chasing anyone anymore, embrace it! If this is the right guy (and a good guy) letting your guard down and really loving him is going to be well received. When you give to your partner and put him first, he will do the same for you. On the other hand, if he’s a bit of jerk, and you believe he is playing with your heart in attempt to boost his own ego, don’t ignore that instinct. There certainly are men that enjoy playing hook, line, and sinker with a girl, and only respond emotionally when she makes herself scarce. Only you know what kind of guy you are dealing with, but if you’ve been dating since high school, why not finally give this the real shot it deserves?
Hope this helps,
I just read your book, WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID. I have been dating a man for 5 months. Right away he told me he wasn’t looking for a committed relationship and I told him I wasn’t either. Honestly, I do want that but I just didn’t want to lose him by telling him. Now it’s been several months and he is still hung up on not wanting a commitment even though we act like a couple. We see each other on a regular basis, spend weekends together, and have even vacationed in Hawaii. I know he is not seeing anyone else. Really, we are in a relationship, but he refuses to really acknowledge it. He texts and emails me everyday to say good morning and good night. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t talk. How do I get him to commit exclusively and call this what it is… a relationship!
Confused in Kentucky
Here is the good news. You are correct. You are in a relationship. Here is the bad news. It’s not the kind of relationship you want. If this man is verbally telling you that he doesn’t want to commit to you, then it means he wants to have the ability to walk away whenever he feels like it. It does not matter that he spends all his time with you now, because “the now” is not his concern. The concern is “later”, as in next month, next year, or five years from now. He is happy with you at the moment but unsure how he will feel tomorrow, and that is why he won’t commit. Is that because of you, or is it because he’s just that type of guy? The best way to find out the answer is look at the rest of his life outside his relationship with you. Does he have a problem committing to other people, such as his friends or family? Does he back out of plans often or wait to the last minute to make them? Does he agonize over major purchases because buying a house or a car is a long term commitment in itself? If the answer is yes, you are probably just dealing with a commitment phobic guy that needs more than a little nudge from you to tie the knot. Therapy may help, but many commitment-shy guys never really learn to fully settle down…even if they get married!
If, however, you find that he is solid in other areas and doesn’t have trouble committing to anything else, the problem may be specific to you and your relationship. If that is the case, your only recourse is to have a serious heart to heart with him and discuss what you want and need from him. If you continue to see him, and sleep with him, while still holding your tongue, you will only grown more resentful as time goes by. What’s worse is that you are likely going to put all your time, energy, and heart into someone that won’t stick with you when tough times hit. Do yourself a favor and own up to what you want. You should be more afraid of what will happen if you don’t say something, than if you do!
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