How Do I Avoid Clingy and Desperate Men?

This may not seem like a problem to some women, but for me it is. When I am dating, I like to really take my time and get to know someone before I put any “name” on what we’re doing. It’s just having fun with someone, getting to know him, and see where things go. (I believe it’s called dating.)

There were a few men in the past several months that I liked. They were nice and I could see an eventual relationship coming of our dating. Here is the problem I’ve had…we go out once (maybe twice) and have a good time. There’s some kissing involved (but no sex). We make plans to go out again. Over the next several days he calls me constantly, starts talking about wanting a commitment from me, about our future together, and basically freaks me out from wanting to even go out with him again. (And yes, this has happened at least three times recently.) I understand liking me and wanting to spend time with me, and hoping that things will go further.  What I don’t understand is why they get so obsessive.

I’m a divorced mother with two young children, but I am not looking for someone to “rescue” me. I do want to be in a relationship, with the right person, and I do want to be married again. However, I am not going to jump into something so quickly that I am blindsided. Are these men just so desperate that they don’t understand the fundamentals of dating? Any way I can avoid this in the future? It seems to be happening to me a lot recently.


Dear Leah,

Yeah, it’s a drag when a guy says he really likes you and makes a supreme effort to see you. I’m sure all the women who are waiting by the phone for their dates to call are feeling particularly bad for you.

I kid, Leah, because it’s about as ironic as any dating situation can be. We want people to be real, authentic, and emotionally available, yet we cringe and we flee when they are.

I wouldn’t say this is the height of hypocrisy, because I don’t know how you get when you really like a guy. Maybe you never get excited and let down your guard. But imagine you did. It would be a shame if a man distanced himself from you precisely BECAUSE you said you liked him.

What it really comes down to, Leah, is timing. You keep finding guys who are ready to take the plunge, you dazzle them on a date or two, and you listen to them start gabbing about rings and honeymoons. That has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. They want to be married soon. You do not. That’s perfectly fair. But imagine the shoe was on the other foot.

Let’s say that you were 39, single, and childless. You meet a great guy. It wouldn’t be too unreasonable for you to get excited about him being the future father of your children. Of course, if he’s already a father of two, and also recently divorced, he might not be ready to dive back into a committed relationship. That’s nobody’s fault. That’s simply two good people who may be compatible, but are not a good fit at the time.

I’m particularly glad you wrote this email because it’s useful to hear from a woman who just not that into HIM. It goes to show that, as abhorrent as we find the concept of “game-playing”, sometimes a little game playing is exactly what is necessary to keep the fire burning.

When someone makes himself too accessible, too willing to jump into a relationship, we question him. We wonder how anyone could like us this much this soon. We immediately devalue those people. But when we’re crazy about someone and show it, we want that person to reciprocate. Can’t we just be REAL with each other? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Apparently, it’s not….

I remember a woman that I went on a date with about seven years ago. At the end of the night, she said to me, “I’m glad to have you in my life”. We’d had fun, but after three hours, I wasn’t yet “in her life”. So I did what most people would never do. I told her that I thought she was great, but that she might want to hold back on the big proclamations until we get to know each other better. I told her that because I liked her so much, I didn’t want to get scared off by her intensity. Class act that she was, she took it in stride, and we remained friends for years after dating.

Needless to say, that’s not going to work for everyone, but I think an authentic conversation is a lot better than dropping every guy like a hot potato the second he tells you he’s interested.

Let’s face it: It can be hard to keep your feelings below the surface when they’re just bursting to get out. But take it from readers like Leah: full disclosure is like polyamory. It may sound great in theory, but in doesn’t work in practice.



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  1. 91

    I am 60, and have not been dating for a while, my friend told me about a “friend” that did not want a relationship just a buddy to go to movies and just hang out. I thought I can do that, I too want to get to know a person before I leap into anything. The sad thing is I actually liked this person, we exchanged pictures but had NOT met yet, I explained that I understood he was looking for a buddy.  He began talking about there was a company trip in July and the benefits for his health plan at work, I told him why are you telling me this?  OMG, he told me that when we got married I needed to know and getting an engagement ring in 6 months.  That is not OK, if you haven’t even met the person and we spoke only one day, he really made me uncomfortable, I told him to back off he was too pushy…..   He flipped texting constantly, and calling, I went to bed early and did not answer his call and he kept texting until I texted back, I was sleeping and would get back with him tomorrow, he called me a liar, he had received texts like that before….  I just told him to stop contacting me, he was scary….

  2. 92

    Now, I know that many would say that we’re stupid for pushing the men who are attracted to us, blah3.
    If you havent experienced it, dont say it imo.
    I have let a guy walk all over my boundaries because i precisely think so, I should be grateful, shouldnt I be ?
    So that goes on, all the while I am feeling even more suffocated.
    He says he loves me before even knows me, says he’s going to spend the rest of his life with me, I am the only good thing in his life – expecting me to feel the same way too(all is almost immediately after we started dating) and that he didnt need anyone else, ever.
    And im “the one”, the most important thing in his life..its like he saw me as this perfect angel when im really not. It puts so much pressure on me. I mean I like him, but he dumps too much on me too soon. like im supposed to be his “true love” in life, while im still strugglimg to even comprehend what true love really is. And “true love” at first sight..really ?
    His expectations is way too high too soon.
    He acts extremely childish, expects me to baby him too almost all the time.
    Im tired of the constant attention seeking / demanding.
    Is any of this really sounds healthy ?
    Can you really be so into someone that all of this sounds appealing ? Sounds like a highschool puppy- imaginative love to me. 

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