Do You Want to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too?

How to Open Up Your Relationship

This week, I was on the phone with a client who came to me eight weeks ago with no dating prospects whatsoever.

But armed with a new perspective on dating, online dating, and understanding men (not to mention a new online ad campaign), this woman found herself in a new position: the object of desire to a thoughtful, considerate man.

Tara, 39, went out with Ted three times. Each time, he called her in advance, made the plans, paid for her, followed up the day after, and let her know that she was a priority in his love life. Without being over-the-top smothering, Ted made it clear that he wanted to be her boyfriend.

Yet even though Tara invested a lot of money with me to ostensibly find herself a boyfriend, suddenly, when confronted with the prospect of focusing on one man, she found herself pulling away emotionally.

You know that the guy who is casually “seeing” you once a week for three months NEVER becomes your husband.

Even though he’s a great guy. Cute, smart, successful, kind.

Even though he’s done everything right.

Even though she wants to be married one day and this man is on board — Tara just couldn’t help but feel that she needed more time being single.

“More time than 39 years?” I asked.

“It’s more that I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to HIM,” she continued. “So what I’d like to do is continue to date Ted casually for the next couple of months, put my profile up on, and see what happens from there. He IS a good guy, and I don’t want to throw things away. I just want to explore my other options right now.”


Tara’s proclamation sounds eerily like the thoughts of the man who played with your heart in the past. Like your heartbreaker, she came on strong, she made a real connection, and now she’s silently backing away… sort of.

Because Tara — like your heartbreaker – doesn’t want to actually break up — she just wants to keep her distance and downgrade Ted from “future boyfriend” to “one of three men I’m seeing right now”.

Which means that, whether Tara likes it or not, Ted’s going to be on pins-and-needles, wondering where the spark and momentum went.

He’s going to be wondering what happened, what he did wrong, and how he can turn things around again.

Essentially, Tara wants to have her cake and eat it, too.

Not because she’s evil and malicious and doesn’t care about men, but because continuing to date Ted casually while exploring her other options maximizes her selfish desires.

So she gets to keep the door open for Ted, experiment with some exciting, unpredictable men on Match, and make her decision down the road.

Except that’s never how it goes.

You know that.

Because you’ve been in Ted’s position more times than you’d care to admit.

And you know that the guy who is casually “seeing” you once a week for three months NEVER becomes your husband.

How do you know this?

Because if he wanted to be your boyfriend, he’d have tried harder from the very beginning. His very indifference and ambivalence to you — shopping around for other women while keeping you in the loop — tells the entire story.

I don’t have to stick around to see the end.

Neither should Ted.

Every second you’re with the wrong guy is a second you’re not looking for the right guy.

And neither should you.

Your takeaway from this blog post should be twofold:

First, realize that men and women are no different. And although it’s easy to berate men for being selfish, for using you, for not telling you their true intentions, the real truth is: this isn’t a man thing, it’s a people thing.

I just told you Tara’s story, but I literally have THREE clients right now going through the exact same thing.

Three women with no prospects 8 weeks ago; now, all three are putting OFF having a boyfriend because they want time to date and explore and maximize.

I would probably quibble that they should consider the devoted guy instead of looking for a more exciting, unpredictable player on the Internet, but that’s neither here nor there.

All you need to know is that you have two choices: act with integrity and let your man go find a woman who’s into him, or give up on any sense of moral high ground that you might maintain when complaining about non-committal men.

You can’t have it both ways.

The second takeaway I’d like you to have is to internalize the idea that the guy who is keeping you at bay for more than 6-8 weeks is probably never going to step up to the plate to be your boyfriend.

So dump him NOW and go out and find yourself a man who is EXCITED about you.

Every second you’re with the wrong guy is a second you’re not looking for the right guy.

Join our conversation (92 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 81

    It is selfish to put someone in a position of confusion and frustration when you are not fully honest with them, most importantly, with yourself. I, like many has had this experience. When I try to open up dialogue to get some understanding and resolution either I or the conversation was completely avoided, leaving me hurt, lost and confused. That’s not unintentional, you’re just simply PLAYING GAMES stringing the individual along.

    I get that we are human and we have mixed desires/emotions…but that is no excuse for putting someone on “hold”. You still have a choice when it comes to honesty and respect for others. Right is right and wrong is wrong, there is no “grey” area in that nor is it considered “judging” when it is the truth.

  2. 82

    Thank you evan! I have experienced this, i have been both the heartbreaker and heartbroken! 😁

  3. 83

    I do agree that treating people as options and leading them on is horrible.   I have been there and just dumped a guy over it.   Although in his case I would call it cheating since we had been dating  a year (with a 2 month breakup in the middle).   But that did not stop him from keeping his dating profile up and dating numerous women behind my back and lying.   I guess he could use the excuse that he never officially asked me to be his girlfriend so he could do what he wanted.   But then why tell me “he knew I was the one” and that “he loved me”?   It was a real relationship but to keep playing the field of course he told himself that he was not really committed since he never officially asked me to be his girlfriend.   Yet he told me some pretty serious stuff that indicated  otherwise.

    I treated him like a king and was there for him when he was sick, needed help and support.   But none of that mattered.   He is an extremely selfish and self centered person, at 47 years of age!   Not sure when he is  finally going to settle down and stop being a player, user and hurting women.   I will say that he most certainly did not see getting caught cheating, dumped and a loosing a great girl coming.   His loss for sure.

    In any case, while I fully agree that people should not mislead or have their cake and eat it too, I think in the case of this girl it is hard to focus in on a guy after only 3 dates.   I have found that men change drastically from the start to 2 months down the road.   They are in best behavior at the beginning and then some become rude, selfish, aloof, etc.   Not all guys.   But it has happened often enough.   So if I invest in only one guy, which I have, and then over time this change happened it is emotionally devastating to be mistreated.   So now I am straight with guys and tell them that I need to get to know them as friends first over the course of time and then if there is consistency in who they are and we get along we can progress to the next stage.   For me, dating at least 2-3 months will tell me, not after 3 dates.   And in this time we can both date others until we both determine that we want to be exclusive.   The other option is to date only each other  but again as friends without jumping into the physical stuff.   And then if it clicks become official.

    But as you can guess most guys wont stick around.   They want immediate gratification and most want sex.   Securing a situation quickly gives them that physical comfort without earning that connection.   The best bet in my opinion is to start slow but honestly.   And then if that connection builds and the person is consistent then it makes for a real, strong and meaningful relationship.   I say this from learning from past mistakes.   I went into relationships too fast and then got burned.

Leave a Reply

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