Do You Want to Be the Center of His Universe? Be Careful What You Wish For…


I want you to imagine the perfect man.

He’s your age.

He’s fit.

He’s passionate about his work and makes a good living.

He texts you every day and calls you almost every night.

He refers to you as his girlfriend.

He tells you he loves you after only 3 months together.

He’s already talking about vacation plans for next year.

Sounds nice, huh?

I’ll bet that if you think about having a man like this in your life, it would bring a great big smile to your face.

Then again, if you had such a man in your life, you probably wouldn’t be reading this; you’d be off drinking pina coladas in Cabo. ☺

So believe me when I tell you that men like this really do exist.

Career men aren’t home for 5pm dinner, especially if they’re not living with you.

One of the women in my Inner Circle is currently dating one.

And, believe it or not, she is doing everything in her power to break up with him.

That’s right.

Debbie, from my Inner Circle, is quite a catch and I’m thrilled to work with her.

And although I only hinted at one side of the story to make a point, there IS another side. I’ll let Debbie explain herself:

At three months of dating, my boyfriend Sam is completely fine with seeing each other once during the week and every other weekend when I don’t have my son.

Right now, that might be acceptable but I know that at six months or a year I would want more time together. I know he dated someone with a kid for about a year, moving in at six months and it got to be too much for him, he moved out, moved back in, then eventually broke up with her. This makes me think that although he says he wants to be in a relationship and does want someone to go on trips with, etc, he may in fact value his freedom more.

Honestly I don’t see the point in continuing to date this guy for six months or a year knowing that eventually we will not be on the same page with respect to spending time together.

Do you agree I should cut my losses now instead of doing it at six months or a year, or are my expectations too high and I would run into this with anyone I dated?



Debbie’s questions about their long-term compatibility are real.

Her fear, however, isn’t serving her well. In fact, it’s more likely to drive Sam away.

Allow me to explain.

First of all, Debbie has already acknowledged that everything this guy does is virtually perfect. He treats her like gold, he follows up consistently, and she always knows where she stands emotionally with him.

As a woman, you know how very rare and important that is.

Her complaints are a) she doesn’t see him enough b) he seems content with that.

Yet part of the reason she doesn’t see him enough is because both he and she are hard-working, 6-figure earners with jobs that take close to 50 hours a week.

Debbie loves his mind, she loves his passion, she appreciates that he has money — she just wishes he could spend more time with her. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.

Career men aren’t home for 5pm dinner, especially if they’re not living with you.

Not to mention the other main reason they don’t see each other more is because Debbie has a son and Sam doesn’t. And after three months, it doesn’t make any sense that Sam would be fully integrated into her life with her son.

My question to Debbie was this: what exactly COULD Sam do differently given his work hours and her custody situation?

She wasn’t quite sure. All she knows is that she’s looking for signs.

When Sam goes out with a guy friend to listen to music, it’s a sign.

When Sam texts her and says he loves her but he’s tired and has nothing to say, it’s a sign.

When Sam tells her about how he had fun doing something without her, it’s a sign.

Do you ever look for signs like this?

Do you ever try to find fault with the man in your life, despite the fact that you know he’s good to the core and doing the best he can?

Do you think that you should be the center of his universe even though he’s only known you for a few weeks or months — because it makes YOU feel better?

If so, you’re in for a rude awakening.

The man you want to be with DOESN’T make you the center of the universe.

You know who does?

The creepy stalker guy makes you the center of his universe.

The lonely divorced or widowed guy makes you the center of his universe.

The socially awkward guy who has no friends makes you the center of his universe.

You’ve dated these men before and how did you like it?

It’s like he didn’t exist before you came into the picture.

You never meet his friends. You never meet his family.

He’s obsessed with you, calls you ten times a day, and declares his love after a week.

Not to mention that he’s insanely jealous.

Whether you’re hanging out with your girlfriends, hanging out with your ex-boyfriend or away on business and have no time to talk, he freaks out if he’s not involved.

How does it feel to be involved with that guy?

Instead of trying to read the future — and spending all of your time discussing “us” and “where we’re going” — the best way to get a man to want to be with you is to play it cool.

Once the rush of flattery is gone, how long before his attention becomes oppressive and weird? How long before you break up with him to find a guy who has a life, who has self-esteem, who treats you well, but doesn’t obsess over you?

Because if you’d be inclined to break up with that man, I can assure you that Sam will be inclined to break up with Debbie if she keeps up her desire to be the center of the universe.

You WANT a man who has a life.

You WANT a man who enjoys the company of men.

You WANT a man who treats you well every second he can.

And since you CAN’T know the future — whether or not you get married is a story that will take another year or two to write — ALL you can do is continue to enjoy the here and now.

This is one of the most important lessons from Why He Disappeared: The Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever.

Instead of trying to read the future — and spending all of your time discussing “us” and “where we’re going” — the best way to get a man to want to be with you is to play it cool. To lean back and let him win you over with his efforts. To be fun and easygoing and nurturing and appreciative.

The more you dissect his every move as a “sign” that you should “cut your losses” the more likely you are to drive him batty and force him to choose someone who accepts his daily calls, texts, and declarations of love for what they are — signs that he’s not going anywhere.

If you’ve identified with any of Debbie’s normal insecurities, I understand. Enough disappearing men will make you wary of any new relationship.

But the answer isn’t to force him to cut off his guy friends, quit his job, and promise to marry you after a few months.

The answer is to be sure that he’s treating you the way you deserve to be treated.

If he is, trust that he’s doing the best that he can, and that the longer he stays with you, the deeper in love he’s going to fall.

Join our conversation (55 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Excellent article.   I agree one hundred percent.   I do not want a guy making me the center of his universe, any more than I plan to make a guy the center of mine.   I value my independence and my boyfriend does too.   I’m not interested in rushing into marriage again anytime soon, after my nasty experience with marriage and after all the horror stories I keep hearing about people cheating on each other, walking out for no good reason, etc.   I’d prefer to take a good long time dating, getting to feel each other out slowly, and making pretty darn sure that my boyfriend really is the real deal before I even think of the possibility of forever with him.
    Debbie just needs to watch and see what happens.   If the guy makes no real move to spend more time with her after 6 months to a year, then maybe she’d have more concerns.   Besides, why would she want a guy to get so involved with her and her son, too soon?   This guy could be another disappearing act and it’s better to take it slow and let the guy show his true character over time.   Take it from someone who’s been there and done that.

  2. 2

    I tend to think that for relationships to evolve organically, flexibility is required from the beginning, and I think it is important to avoid getting into a set routine of “once a week and every other weekend” early on if that is not something you would want to continue longterm. Its natural for couples to spend less time together to start with and evolve towards merging more of their lives as time goes on, but this is best achieved by varying the times and occasions when you see each other to be comfortable in different settings, rather than getting into a rut then suddenly demanding to “take it up a notch”. Debbies could address this situation hrself right now by being more flexible herself in the times she makes herslef available – for instance, arranging to be child free two weekends in a row and seeing what happens, or getting a sitter on different nights of the week rather than “we always see each other on wednesdays as 7.30” which I suspect is what may be happening at the moment. Debbies’s comments make it sound as though its her boyfriend who is imposing these strict limits on when they see each other, wheras his perception may be that that is the only time she is free. Folks with children  are often more rigid than they realise in being available for dates, always raising the childcare issue evey time you want to see them. Yes, childcare may be an issue, but you don’t need to constantly mention it – that’s your issue to resolve, no need to constantly go on about it to your  partner!  Test the water by creating some random, unexpected availablity, suggesting a few different times and activities and seeing how he responds – this in nothing to do with moving in togeather and all about being interested in and enjoying BEING together.

  3. 3

    Hi Evan,

    I want to quick point out that a lot of your bullet-points for the “guy who treats you as the center of the universe” also are tendencies exhibited by abusers.   I know this is a blog about dating, but I think it’s important to know the warning signs!

    (and no, not necessarily are all men who do these things abusers… some might just be awkward, immature in relationships, or on the rebound etc)  

  4. 4

    Getting together with a really nice guy like Sam once or twice during the week & every second weekend would suit me fine right now.

    If Debbie doesn’t want Sam, I’ll more than happily take him off her hands… 😉

    1. 4.1

      I hate when women say that in comments. You sound like a man stealer. Get your own boyfriend! LOL

  5. 5
    Christie Hartman

    This is a gray one. On the one hand, after 3 months, 1/week and every other weekend is a bit lean. On the other, with careers and kids, it may be realistic for now. This guy could be a slow mover, or he could be EU (Emotionally Unavailable). Only time will tell. Since he’s so great in other ways, give it at least 6 months, then reassess. If it hasn’t changed, ask for more time together. If he can’t oblige, move on. The fear should be a sign to watch and see what happens, not something to sabotage you.  
    Angie (3): While I agree that a man who makes a woman the center of his universe may be an abuser or very possessive, that list doesn’t sound like that kind of man – it sounds like a man in love.

  6. 6

    i’ve got another way to look at this guy given the last experience i had with a guy.   the last guy i was with was like this. he called every day, he slept with me every night, told me that i was the love of his life etc.   after he left me for another women, i found out  that he’d cheated on his ex-wife and  was chasing other women behind my back.    when we were together,  he’d leave me and come back to me (because he couldn’t deal with his emotions), until he found somebody that he felt more “comfortable” with than me.  then he still tried to have sex with me until i cut him off.  so after reflecting for 9 months, there’s another type of guy – a type of guy that this guy could be.   he tells debbie what he thinks she needs to hear so that she stays with him so that he can use  her as an emotional crutch and as guarenteed sex a couple of times per week. but when they’re not together, he knows he’s attractive to other women or just a charmer, so he’s always looking to trade up or take other sexual offers from women who come his way in the meantime.   because it’s all about getting his needs met. and because he’s selfish and needy and emotionally unstable and unable to stick around when the going gets a bit hard (like he did with the chick he was with before debbie), he’s going to bolt at the first sign of responsibility or not getting the relationship exactly how he wants it, and he’s gonna make sure he’s got backup. and if he doesn’t, he’ll come and go from  debbie  until he finally does find greener pastures, and debbie  won’t know what hit her.  she’ll realise that  he wasn’t the person she thought he was (he was the illusion that he made her think he was through lies and manipulation).  she’ll be licking  her wounds,  wishing she’d trusted her instincts, vowing to never be used like that again 🙂

    1. 6.1

      You’re spot on there. That’s how sick some of these idiots can be. Move from one woman to another, without even breaking things off first with their current partner… selfish and manipulative liars. It frustrates me that they can get away with it and leave a trail of destruction, and no one says anything about it. They just move onto the next unsuspecting victim. 🙁

  7. 7

    i wanted to add to my previous comment about the type of guy this guy could be: debbie won’t see that he’s emotionally unable to handle situations that get a bit too hard for him. because in order to get what he wants (an emotional crutch and guarenteed sex with minimal responsibility), he’ll be super cool, calm and collected – calculating. because it’s all about keeping her exactly where he wants her.   devoted to him so that she doesn’t go anywhere until he’s finished with her.

  8. 8

    It seems that the OP is worried about something that doesn’t exist. I hope she doesn’t sabotage what appears to be a very promising relationship because of all of the “signs.”  

    It’s not really about the time; it’s about the commitment and intensity of the relationship. In fact, the number of times they’re meeting seems about right, considering how busy they are, the fact that she has a child, and that they’re not living together. I’ve been in a solid relationship where we only saw each other on weekends. The only feasible way we could have spent more time together was to move in together.

    It sounds like Debbie is just really nervous and feels this guy might be too good to be true, so she’s looking for flaws right now to shield herself against potential future hurt. 3 months in? Don’t worry about it. Enjoy the new relationship without obsessing over where it’s going and what he might or might not do in the future.

    1. 8.1

      That looking for flaws thing is uniquely a woman thing outside of a minority of men who do it.   Women often second guess themselves.   I saw a study that was done where they surveyed many Freshman, male and female at a diverse group of colleges and universities.   One question asked how concerned they were that they may have made the wrong choice in schools.   The vast majority of men were not concerned at all.   The majority of women were.   So it would not surprise me if women get their nerves all worked up when there is no need to.   I often here it stated on blogs like this where women talk about the “negative voices,” in their head.
      It’s hard enough finding something good without sabotaging it when you find something good..

  9. 9

    Wow.   We have what appears to be an absolutely wonderful man who is agreeable to having a relationship with a woman who has limited availability (as do most people) and yet the comments are already rolling in that the man might be abusive and that he is just manipulating her for sex.   

    OMG, he might be a serial killer too b/c one time, back at Band Camp, there was this lady…..


    1. 9.1

      Hahaha omg thank you.

  10. 10

    Hi Still Looking,   Wasn’t referring to “Sam”.. was referring to someone who tries to lock down a relationship quickly and is completely in deep straight from the get-go.

  11. 11

    Debbie needs to back off.   This is a sign to Sam: RUN!!!!!

  12. 12

    And THIS is why so many women are single.   Relax and enjoy the here and now and do not get ahead of yourself.
    My motto:
    “It’s your relaxed attitude and the “space” that’s created when you psychologically “lean back” that will naturally pull a man to you and motivate him to grow more attached and  attracted  to you and spend more time.”

  13. 13

    Another amazing article that just makes you sit and think for a moment, I love the way you make us look at the other side of the coin by putting ourselves in the same situation! Love that ! thanks again another lesson learned.

  14. 14

    i just think that if sam was serious about debbie, he’d try to spend more time with her even on the weekends that she has the child. like sam could suggest that all of them do something fun together. but he’s already shown in his last relationship that living with a women with a child cramped his desire for his own time and what he wanted to do.  so he bolted.   i think he’s looking for a women who, like i said, gives him emotional support and sex (security) but also  plenty of  freedom to play the field by going out with friends and having fun without her.   if he was into her, and in theory he should be at this early stage in their relationship, i don’t think he’d be so laid back about not seeing her that much.   like i said, words are cheap (when he tells her he loves her but has nothing to say and that he’s tired).   and his actions are certainly indicating that he’s just using her as a crutch.   i just think that he’ll keep her as long as she doesn’t rock the boat and request too much of his time or committment.    the cooler  debbie is, the longer sam will use her as a crutch.   evan talks about this all the time.   we shouldn’t accept a lack of effort.   sending texts and calling is a cheap effort  compared to actually spending physical time with somebody … being physical available to somebody.   50 hours per week is only 10 hours per day. there are still many hours in the day to see each other and on  the weekends that she has the child. i’m not suggesting that he spend all his time with her, of course. but there just doesn’t seem like enough integration at three months  for somebody who is supposed to love you.  i think love is demonstrated in  actions  and  not in charming words.

  15. 15

    I am in a very similar situation to Debbie at the moment, so I can relate.
    I think the issue here is not whether he has good personal qualities (fit, passionate, makes good living, etc) or how he treats her (calling, texting, professing love, etc) and whether he makes her the centre of his universe, but how he treats her as a package deal with her son. The way I read Debbie’s letter is that her main concern is that since Sam has already backed off from one relationship where there was a child because it was “too much for him”, history will repeat itself. This is not only a valid concern, but absolutely critical and non-negotiable. She has a son and always will have him. She is a package deal. Sam either accepts her together with her son, or he doesn’t.   If he does, there is potential (no guarantees of course!). If he doesn’t, that is a deal breaker.
    Maybe we don’t have the full information here, but from her letter it sounds like they only see each other when she does not have her son around:
    my boyfriend Sam is completely fine with seeing each other once during the week and every other weekend when I don’t have my son”

    As they both work long hours during the week, their time during the working week is restricted, but they stil see each other on the nights she does not have her son. That’s fine. What about the weekends when she does have her son? Does Sam not want to see her/them then? This would be a very bad sign and is all the information she would need to decide whether to break off the relationship.

    “Not to mention the other main reason they don’t see each other more is because Debbie has a son and Sam doesn’t. And after three months, it doesn’t make any sense that Sam would be fully integrated into her life with her son.”
    I agree that it doesn’t make sense to be fully integrated into her son’s life. But at 3 months, and calling her his girlfriend, and telling her he loves her, he should already be doing some activities and spending time together with Debbie and her son. Does he do that?
    Until recently I was of the opinion than boyfriends and potential boyfriends should not be introduced to my son early on. Not until I know whether we are “serious about each other”. However, I completely changed my mind after I read Steve Harvey’s “Act Like A Lady – Think Like A Man”. His argument is ‘If He’s Meeting the Kids After You Decide He’s “the One,” It’s Too Late’. It is a bad idea for a woman to become emotionally involved with a man who may not fit well with her children. In fact it is a deal breaker. He explains the point of view of the man as well: if the man is serious about a relationship, he needs to be able to see upfront what he will be dealing with. Also, I have found it much easier to introduce men in a friendly neutral way as ‘a friend’, since at the beginning after 1-2 dates that’s all they are really, just like I would be introducing the next door neighbour. Neither of us know yet whether anything would develop between us, we are just friends, but after 1-2 dates I know if there is potential, but I am still not emotionally involved. And that’s the key.

  16. 16

    Sorry about the double post. I just wanted to add to my second last paragraph about Sam doing activities with Debbie and her son. For example, she has her son for the full weekend, but Sam joins them part of the time, e.g for lunch or going to the park or going to the movies, etc. It might mean a sleepover is not appropriate, but seeing each other when both know sex is not going to happen is actually a very good thing for them to get to know each other in a different context.

  17. 17

    @Leesa and Sacha 15 and 16 Does Debbie let him spend time with her son?   I had a boyfriend who loved me intensely and called me his girlfriend. He was often suggesting activities we could all do together or do with his kids. I discouraged that several times because I did not want to expose my daughter to men coming in and out of her life, and after a while he gave up. Who and what we expose our children to is very sensitive, and messages sent regarding them are taken seriously by other parents.   He is a parent too and took my unintended signals in the child arena very seriously and did not want to put me in the situation of always saying “no” around such a delicate topic, so he stopped asking.  

    In the end I had to make a point to invite him into our lives to involve him in family oriented activities or we never would have shared that.

  18. 18

    SalsaQ #17 “Does Debbie let him spend time with her son?”
    It is not stated explicitly, but reading between the lines of Debbie’s letter, sounds like she wants a serious relationship with Sam. That cannot happen without him spending time with her son.
    I agree with you that anything involving children has to be handled sensitively and for any parent children are first priority. I would encourage you to read the book I referred to in #15 and you might change your mind (as I did) about “exposing your daughter to men coming in and out of her life” or at least it will give you a different perspective.

  19. 19

    This is a problem of Debbie’s own creation.   She compartmentalizes her life, and her guy is fine with that.   And she’s upset that he’s fine with that?

    Gimme a break.

  20. 20

    First off, three months is not a lot of time spent together when both have busy careers and personal lives. It sounds like he’s acting in ways to show his interest and be a good guy, but he’s not throwing his whole life at Debbie. It also sounds like Debbie is being cautious about her own time and her son.  

    Things got off to a very slow start with my boyfriend. As a bachelor, he had filled almost every night with an activity and took those commitments seriously. He made time for me, but not as much as I wanted. As our relationship grew,   I saw that he was continuing to book his week with activities. I knew these things were important to him, but I was starting to have doubts about if I were a priority in his life. Finally I said something about how much it bothered me and that I didn’t want to be a one-night a week/weekend girlfriend.  

    He said he had been waiting for me to express my needs. He had been in relationships where his whole life revolved around his ex and when they broke up, he had nothing to fill his time. I hadn’t been good about communication within the relationship and he wasn’t a mind reader. He kept some of his important activities, but dropped others and moved things around. We started exploring some activities together. It honestly took a bit of time and a lot of concerted effort for both of us to integrate the other into our busy lives.  

    Ever since then, we’ve been better about communicating our individual and couple time needs, which can change from week to week. I think Debbie owes it to herself and Sam to talk about how they spend their time together. She may be surprised by what he has to say.

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