You Didn’t Lose The Person You Thought You Lost

You Didn't Lose The Person You Thought You Lost
You know what it’s like to get devastated when a promising new relationship doesn’t work out? Well, take heart – you didn’t actually lose ANYTHING.

In fact, you gained the freedom to find the person you ARE meant to be with.

It may not seem to be the case, but I want to point out to you that it’s a blessing when your dead-end relationship finally comes to a close…

A client of mine shared a story with me recently.

A lawyer in her mid-50s, Carol said that she’d gone out with this new guy three times.

He was older, divorced, and a real gentleman.

Unlike many men she’d met online, this man made a great effort each time.

He’d make plans in advance, email her in between dates, compliment her when he saw her, pay for everything, and talk about having a future together.

He was even a great kisser!

But one night while the new couple was fooling around on the couch, things got a little weird.

To avoid going too far, too fast, Carol (after some heavy petting), said what I told her to say when putting on the brakes:

“I also want you badly, but I only sleep with guys that I know I’m in a committed relationship with. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do a lot of other fun things together, but I don’t want the man I have sex with to be hitting on other women on Match.com tomorrow.”

The idea behind this is to let the man know that you ARE into him, but that you have just this one very reasonable boundary.

Generally, guys can understand this.

If he’s really into you, this is his chance to step up and become your boyfriend. If he’s not, this is a clear sign to get out.

Either way, it’s impossible for us to disrespect a woman who says she only has sex in a committed relationship. Even if we’re not getting our instant gratification met, it’s impossible for a man to find fault with a sexual woman who values herself.

A man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

Alas, Carol never heard from her guy the day after, or the day after that, or ever again. And when she started thinking, she started to get upset with me. After all, it was my advice that had killed her relationship. For all she knows, maybe if she would have slept with him, he would have asked her out again.

Uh uh. Nope. Fuhgeddaboutit.

Setting down boundaries for sex is a truth test – and this guy failed with flying colors.

I’m not suggesting that you “test” men. Not at all. But a man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

And this is why, despite her disappointment, Carol really shouldn’t be all that upset. Nor should you be upset if you ever set a reasonable boundary and the man walks away.

What’s a reasonable boundary?

Wanting to talk in between dates, making weekend plans in advance, committing to a relationship after three months.

If you suggest these in a reasonable way at a reasonable point in time and a guy refuses, then guess what?

When you choose to be devastated by a man who is not your boyfriendHe’s NOT the guy she thought he was. You didn’t lose your future husband. You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband. See, your future husband, when faced with the prospect of waiting for sex will do one of two things:

a) Decide that, yes, he does like you enough to be your boyfriend. He was just too afraid to push things that fast, but he’s glad you suggested it.

b) Decide that he’s not ready to commit yet, but he appreciates your respectable stance. You’ll both get semi-naked, have a little fun, and no hearts will be broken.

Your future husband does NOT:

c) Bail like a rat leaving from a sinking ship.

So if you’re worrying about why some guy disappears suddenly on you – without any reasonable explanation – the thing to know is this:

You didn’t lose your future husband.

You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband.

You’re OVERRATING that person’s character.

He is NOT a good partner for you.

Be GLAD that you learned that this person is not in it for the long haul.

Remember, despite all your bad experiences, there are good men out there – men just like you, who are wondering where to connect with you.

The only responsibility you have is to continue to make the effort to meet them.

68
29

Join 7 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (132 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Samantha

    Interesting. I didn’t meet my guy online and he said that when I feel ready to have sex he wants to. He says he’s not dating anyone else. I don’t want to push him, but if we are to have sex I want us to be exclusive.

  2. 2
    Goldie

    Good post, I can relate :) Can I ask a question? There is one thing that I’m currently trying to figure out that this post has touched upon. I am not sure how I feel about this line:
     
    “I also want you badly, but I only sleep with guys that I know I’m in a committed relationship with.”
     
    I agree that sleeping with relative strangers isn’t a great idea, and taking it slow appeals to me a lot, but here’s the thing. The way I understand it, from reading this blog, other resources, and my own experience, dating is a way of getting to know each other better, the end goal being to get to know each other well enough that we can accurately determine whether we’ll work out well together long-term.
     
    Now, the way I see it, sex, in addition to being a fun and satisfying activity, is also a way of getting to know a person better. Which is why I am not sure if it’s safe to commit before having sex. Here’s a hypothetical situation – I meet a man online, we hit it off, we spend time together, we become exclusive, we take our profiles down, then we have sex. Then he lets his guard down completely around me and acts more like himself than he used to previously. I get to see the new side of this guy that I never saw before.
     
    Now, suppose that I do not like what I see. Suppose I see new things about that guy, that he’s been careful not to expose around me before, that I really do not like and cannot live with. But I’m already committed to him, and my online account is closed. Doesn’t this complicate things a little? I mean, I can and should still break up with him, but won’t it be a lot more difficult under the circumstances?
     
    I’m honestly trying to understand this and set a strategy for myself. Help me out here please.

  3. 3
    Ruby

    I think there is a basic contradiction here. Carol only went out with this man 3 times, but later on EMK says that it’s appropriate to expect a commitment after 3 MONTHS. An educated guess would tell me that she’d probably been seeing this man for less than a month, maybe just a couple of weeks. I think to expect a committed relationship after only 3 dates is absurd. If you don’t want to have sex outside of a committed relationship, then wait longer before you have sex. 

    This is why I think that slowing down physical intimacy and dating other people until a relationship becomes exclusive is a good thing. If a man is at your place and you are practically having sex, he will want to go all the way. Doing heavy petting on the third date and then trying to stop it with an exclusivity talk may not give the desired result.

    Plus, to some people, the words “committed relationship” are tantamount to “marriage is on the horizon”!

    This all sounds so “high school” when you are talking about middle-aged people, but some things never change!

  4. 4
    Dawn

    Yes, I’m wondering the same thing. Evan has written in the past about not delaying sex too long and it seems to me that waiting three months for somone to become a boyfriend is too long to put off sex.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Oh, and the other thing that y’all don’t seem to be following is this:

      I don’t advocate for sex or commitment after 3 dates OR 3 months. I merely point out that you need to know that a man is into YOU, not into SEX. If he’s excited about you, you’re excited about him, and you both want to be exclusive after 3 dates, GREAT. You’re an instant couple, driven by passion, and you can have amazing sex now and figure out if you’re compatible later. But if you sleep with the guy on Date 3 because you WANT to, you run the significant risk that you become the one-night stand or booty call option.

      My advice to hold out for commitment doesn’t tell you to pressure him for commitment. It reminds you that having sex with you is a VALUABLE experience and if you let every cute guy do it on the third date, you’re gonna get burned. I’m not even sure how you can argue with this.

  5. 5
    Jennifer

    I really like the theme of this post; once I fully accepted the idea that you can’t ‘lose’ the right one because if he was the right one then you wouldn’t have lost him, my worries about my dating past and future diminished greatly.

    Goldie#2- I’m with you regarding getting to know someone sexually; this is why I don’t require being in a committed relationship before having sex.

    1. 5.1
      Andrea

      Women like you spoil men with easy sex to the point where women like me have a hard time requiring respect and a commitment first.

  6. 6
    BloggyDaddy

    Well, I’m a guy that feels pretty weird if I meet a girl and she wants to have sex right away, which seems to be more of the norm these days.  Most of the guys I know talk about wanting one night stands and easy sex, but when push comes to shove, we would all rather have a woman put up some boundaries and make us wait or at least work a little more for it.  I start to feel like there are red flags if I go on a date and she wants sex that same night.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it; sometimes that’s more willpower than I’ve got, but it totally kills the idea that this could be relationship material.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally I’d rather wait if I really like her, it makes her more valuable in my eyes.

    1. 6.1
      ann

      thank you for giving us your male perspective! 

  7. 7
    Ruby

    Dawn #4

    I don’t think it has to be 3 months (although I’d think at least a month or 2 as a general rule), just whatever you are comfortable with. I do think 3 dates is a bit soon for the exclusivity talk. 

  8. 8
    Laya

    Honestly if I was a guy I would be put off by how Carol approached on the subject. By explaining that she would like to sleep with him but only in a committed relationship because she would then wonder if he was flirting with other women on match, comes off to me as insecure to me. I don’t think a justification is necessary. Let the guy know you like to wait a while before sleeping with someone then let it go. Carol can then sit back and watch his behavior and decide if he meets her standard of a committed relationship. I too think Evan offers a bit of mixed messages. 3 dates is too short of a period of time to talk about commitment.

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Laya,

      It’s not insecure to say, “I don’t sleep with men who are potentially sleeping with other women.” It’s practical. Notice that I didn’t instruct Carol to pressure him to be in a relationship. I just said that she should have her own (very reasonable) boundaries. No intercourse without commitment.

      I think it’s actually funny that you say, “3 dates is too short of a period to talk about commitment.” Really? But 3 dates is a perfect time to have sex?

      You got it backwards, sweetheart.

      You can be a perfectly sane, emotionally healthy, sexual being who wants to attack your man on Date 3 – just be forewarned: there’s only a 50% chance he ever calls you again. If you wait for him to be exclusive with you, there’s a 100% chance.

      I like my odds over yours.

      E

  9. 9
    Jennifer

    Evan #9,
    100% ? Surely you jest :-)
    i’m not against people waiting as long as they want for sex. But there are people out there that will say ‘okay we’re exclusive’ just to get some and never call again.
    So i’ve got a bit of a quibble with that 100%

    1. 9.1
      Fran

      Sad but true. Maybe 80%. I hope :)

  10. 10
    Maya

    Second that Evan.

  11. 11
    Diana

    Evan is right. I held out to have sex with my boyfriend until we were in a committed relationship initiated by him. It has been a year and a half now, and he is asking me my ring size, saving extra money, and talking about our future and having children. We are both in our late thirties, and our love is a beautiful thing. He was worth the wait.

  12. 12
    Veronica

    The one thing that concerns me is that she started to engage in heavy petting and then put the breaks on.  May have sounded like a bait and switch to her date.  Why even get yourself into that situation to begin with?  If you truly want to wait until this guy is committed – then heavy petting is out in my book until I see some indication that he’s truly interested in getting to know me better.  Maybe he didn’t call her again because he thought she was a tease, had an agenda, and was pressuring him in a roundabout way.  Personally, I don’t engage in heavy petting with someone I just started dating unless I plan on going all the way with it.  Let’s be adults here.

  13. 13
    Fawn

    I have to disagree with Carol’s whole approach, too.  The one thing that concerns me is that she engaged in “heavy petting” with this guy knowing full well that she would not have sex with him unless he was willing to commit to an exclusive relationship.  Why even go there?   In her dates mind, that may have sounded like a bait and switch or some sort of agenda.  I don’t do “heavy petting” with anyone I don’t plan on sleeping with.  It’s a tease.  If a guy did this to me, I would be turned off, too. 

  14. 14
    Garnet

    You are strumming my pain with your fingers, as the old song says.  The promising guy has pretty much disappeared after I asked for time on Date 3.  Sigh.  Why my heart is the open beginner variety, I don’t know.  At least your blog helps by confirming what I’m seeing from my angle. Thanks, I guess.

  15. 15
    Chris

    You can’t just consider if he really likes you, you have to ask, do you really like him?

    A while ago I met a girl I thought was AWESOME in every way for me.  We had a ton in common on paper, great chemistry and ended up having sex on Date #2.  Since she was very good looking and in her late 20s, you can imagine my surprise when I found out I was only her #4.  I was sure it meant that I was special.

    I knew I liked her and I was sure she liked me.  I started to act like we were already boyfriend and girlfriend, mostly by being too nice.  Women like guys who keep a aloof in the beginning and I scared her away.  She told me two weeks later she didn’t think I was “for real.”

    It was a while ago, but I still believe that I would have been a very good partner for her.  I know she would have been a good one for me.  Bottom Line: don’t go too fast. 

  16. 16
    Selena

    Count me in the camp that doesn’t do “heavy petting” unless it’s as a prelude to intercourse. Does anyone post high school?

    Also, to me exclusive and commitment aren’t necessarily the same thing. I don’t want to share my body with someone who is sharing theirs with other people. That’s dating “exclusively”, or to put it less ambiguously, “focusing on each other for now”.

    Commitment comes later, after compatibility, including sexual compatibility has been established.

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Selena and Diana,

      “Exclusive” and “commitment” – for all intents and purposes – are the same. Are you not actively dating or searching for other people online? Yes? Then you’re committed and you should feel safe having sex because he’s interested in YOU.

      As far as whether it’s normal and ethical to say no to intercourse but yes to everything else? Hell, I made a dating career out of it. If YOU insist that heavy petting must equal sex, that’s on you. For plenty of women, it is not. And it is, just like I said in Why He Disappeared, JUST like high school. You slowly round the bases. Just cause you let a guy get to first doesn’t mean he hits a home run.

      Put another way: most women I know have either a physical or mental list of all the men they’ve slept with. I don’t know many who remember every single “heavy petting” incident. Sex is a big deal to most women, which is why there are different emotional attachments surrounding it.

      Feel free to equate oral sex and intercourse. Feel free to sleep with men without commitment. I don’t judge you in the least. But if my job is to advise women on how to ethically and effectively protect themselves from men who will use them, my advice is far more effective than, “Well, it’s three dates in, he’s hot, he’s got my pants off, so, why not?”

      Followed by five days of agonizing that he hasn’t called you and is still active on Match.

  17. 17
    SS

    @Dawn #4
     
    I waited four months. I didn’t come up with a specific amount of time, I just wanted to wait until I knew we were in an exclusive relationship AND I felt comfortable with the idea of being physically intimate with the man.
     
    My partner said he was willing to wait… yes, he said I made him wait a while, but he understood why. I wasn’t playing a game or anything, but he said he appreciated the fact that I set a standard and made him reach it. He also proposed to me eight months later.
     
    While I don’t care about how others choose to conduct their relationships — people can all have sex on the first date or wait until marriage, as far as I’m concerned — I was never worried about the fact that if I made a man wait for longer than three dates, that I might lose him. That’s a TERRIBLE way, in my opinion, to go into a relationship, because you’re basically violating your personal standards to keep a man from leaving. You’re acting out of fear, not out of personal choice.
     
    I really hope that women aren’t having sex when they’re not ready because they believe that three months without having sex with a man is “too long.” That’s really scary to me that we live in a society where a lot of people consider three months without sex to be “too long.”

  18. 18
    Angie

    Evan, a quick question – Would you think it is more appropriate to tell a guy BEFORE bringing him into your house and BEFORE engaging in “heavy petting” that you find him attractive, but don’t want to be part of his rotation?

    I think it is generally good practice far as safety and health are concerned that one doesn’t sleep with someone who is sleeping with multiple women, not just emotionally.  This way the guy knows your boundaries BEFORE you put the brakes on.

    Also, you never speak about this… while some guys are “good catches” on the outside (polite, respectful, well-educated, good jobs and good families), they completely lack passion and sexual abilities.  What if this *is* important to us?

  19. 19
    Fawn

    @Chris#17
    I think it really is a matter of readiness and maturity.  When I started dating the love of my life, I told him that he was a really nice guy and he took that as a bad thing because girls have been telling him he was too nice all of his dating life.  When I told him he was nice, I truly meant it as a compliment.  He was a breath of fresh air.  Here we are two years later, and he is still a really nice guy.  Not a pushover, mind you.  But sweet, caring and someone I can rely on.  He still gives me butterflies.  I guess what I’m trying to say, is maybe this girl was not ready for a committed relationship and she got scared off.  I am 50 years old and done playing games.

  20. 20
    Sayanta

    Ruby #3-

    Your last line about high-school- AMEN! That’s what I was thinking. Seriously- people in their 50s, and professionals, behaving like this? Asking the same kind of advice that a 17 year old would ask? I guess the whole ‘age brings wisdom’ saying is dead wrong.

  21. 21
    Tosha

    Great post! I have gone too fast before and learned my lesson.  The time I went too fast and it did not work out, I was left feeling horrible.  While I still have some other things I am working on, I have come to value that part of me and want to share it with someone that values me as well.
    I so appreciate the male perspective on this.

  22. 22
    BeenThereDoneThat

    I actually love this post!  I believe in having this boundary.  I went out with a guy recently who tried on our first meet/date.  I said I had to take things slower and I never heard from him again.  I was wondering the same thing; if I had had sex with him that night, would he have called?  I know you have to take the risk of getting hurt but sleeping with someone too soon for me is upping the risk ante more than I am comfortable with. 

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Evan, for the reminder that getting out of a dead end relationship is a good thing. 

  23. 23
    Diana

    Hey Selena (#18). You took the words right out of my mouth. :) I also agree with several other posters in that I do not agree with her heavy petting with the guy, and then suddenly putting the brakes on due to the “commitment” issue. I think he lost respect for Carol because of the way she handled the situation. If commitment or exclusivity is of the utmost importance to you, then have an open and honest discussion about your boundaries after he makes his intentions known, but not half way to the bedroom.
     
    My boundaries are exclusivity and allowing enough time to pass to create a sense of trust, comfort and knowledge that he’s into “me” first and foremost. A “committed relationship” is not the same thing as exclusivity, as Selena pointed out. Honestly, I think that term is used too loosely because it means different things to different people, and it can easily get misconstrued.
     
    And what is the meaning behind “doing other fun things together?” Are these sex related things? If that’s the case, then what? It’s okay to do certain unmentionables, but not the deed? Heck. If you’re going to go that far, does putting off the deed really matter? Of course, other fun things could mean the typical dating fare, too.

  24. 24
    Katarina Phang

    I’d be very thrilled if I ever got the chance of wanting to have sex with a guy these days.  Just to reasonably like them enough to see them again is hard enough.

    I think in this case, she should have asked herself first:  how do I feel about this?  Am I ready to have sex with him?

    If yes, then she should have followed her heart knowing that sex might or might not lead to anything deeper.  Guys might disappear before or after sex, there is no guarantee either way.   So I also questioned what Evan really meant by “100% chance.”

    She should only have sex because she wants and enjoys it and it’s a part of getting to know him better.

    If no, then the answer is obvious.  Refrain from heavy petting or forewarn him before things go too far that she’s not ready for full intercourse.

  25. 25
    R.C.

    I wish it had of been me Evan gave this advice to a few years ago fresh from a divorce and trying to date again.  She should have been grateful she DIDN’T give up the goodies.  He would have split anyway after it was all said and done.  His actions was a clear indication of that.  She would of REALLY been disappointed and hurt had he actuallly nailed then bailed.  As the saying goes………..Actions always speak the loudest.

  26. 26
    starthrower68

    I wouldn’t put passion before principle.  If they walk, let ‘em.

  27. 27
    JerseyGirl

    If women shouldn’t expect commitment just because she is going out with a man, having a good time and connecting, it would be stupid for there to be a reverse expectation that just because a woman engages in heavy petting or kissing with a man that she is expected to go sleep with him. In the early stages of a relationship there are no promises to anyone in sex or commitment. No one is beholden to the other.

    So in this instance, a very rare one, I agree with Evan’s advice completely and his subsequent comments. 

    And on that note, I’d like to say something from BloggyDaddy who said:
    “Most of the guys I know talk about wanting one night stands and easy sex, but when push comes to shove, we would all rather have a woman put up some boundaries and make us wait or at least work a little more for it.  I start to feel like there are red flags if I go on a date and she wants sex that same night.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it; sometimes that’s more willpower than I’ve got, but it totally kills the idea that this could be relationship material.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally I’d rather wait if I really like her, it makes her more valuable in my eyes.”

    I know this is a common mentality with guys but it’s really an immature one too. It’s the stuff of high school boys. Not a man. 

    If you rather wait, then wait. Don’t make a woman your own personal moral gate keeper. No woman wants a man that can’t man up and make his own choices, stand up for what he really wants vs making the woman his scape goat to use her then blame her. Do I expect that you’ll really take my comment seriously? No, I have no doubt you will go right on making women your moral gate keepers while perversally punishing them for it at the same time when they give you exactly what you want. But the free pass you and other guys give yourselves while you condemn the woman that act like you is really strange and childish. And at the end of the day, this isn’t a man most women respect anyway. One that holds *her* accountable for how he acts. One that holds *her* accountable for his sexual lust then punishes her by saying “nahh you aren’t good enough for commitment”.

  28. 28
    Selena

    Actually I agree with your “advice” EMK – insofar as it is to set one’s own boundaries and make them clear to a potential lover. Also, I agree that it’s the women’s responsibility to determine whether the guy she has had x amount of dates with is interested in her, or just interested in having sex with her. But for me, dating one person at a time (exclusivity) IS NOT the same thing as commitment to being boyfriend/girlfriend. Off-line (and maybe even on-line for all I know) it is still very common for people to focus on dating only one person instead of a few/several at the same time.

    There is nothing wrong with waiting to have sex, but many adults find genital manipulation that doesn’t lead to climax very frustrating and certainly not the time to “put on the brakes” and have the “I want a commitment before we go any further” discussion. Blarney. Frankly, the consequences for women who try this timing could be much worse than the guy disappearing the next day.

  29. 29
    starthrower68

    Hey listen, I got one who decided he didn’t want to talk to me just because I got a math question wrong.  Life goes on.  It’s all good…

  30. 30
    Diana

    Evan, I know you made a dating career out of it. ;) I guess my post wasn’t clear. I don’t disagree with your overall message to women. I’m not sure why you think otherwise. There’s absolutely no way I would sleep with a man three dates in, regardless of our “relationship” status. I wouldn’t even consider us to be in a relationship after just three dates. This is a boundary I established, well, almost before you were born. I can assure you, I’m not a, “let’s get it on three dates in” kind of woman.
     
    My issue with Carol’s situation was how the heavy petting more than likely sent a clear signal to the man that sex would follow. There’s nothing wrong with heavy petting without sex, if that is your interest, but I think this (and any other boundaries you may have) should be discussed “before” you find yourself in that kind of situation.
     
    And I’m sorry. But if I’m willing to provide oral sex, then I’m willing to have intercourse. Oral sex may not have the “attachment” effect, but it’s pretty darn personal and not something I’d do until we were exclusive and I knew he was into “me” first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>