I’m almost 42, and have been to the rodeo a few times (I have two of your books, read all of your stuff, and have been with you for some years now). I have a doctorate, a lovely home, a fulfilling job, three polite and accomplished children (one in college, one about to be), a collegial relationship with their father . . . I take good care of myself in all ways, and I struggle to get dates as a liberal and non-religious person in a southern town.
Recently, a promising prospect chatted me up on Match and we began emailing separately. Since I tend to try to communicate with about three men at a time (JUST communicate!), I thought things were clicking nicely, though he was slow to ask me out. Then he mentioned he took down his profile because he wanted to “see where things would go” with a girl he was seeing, though she “wasn’t a girlfriend” yet. To say I was clotheslined is an understatement! He says he wouldn’t want her having coffee with other men, so he wants to give her the same respect. I like that, a LOT. But he has the WRONG GIRL. He says he is willing to “continue the conversation” with me via email “as long as I would like to,” but I am not one to “sell” someone on me — au contraire! The problem is that I’m head over heels — perhaps because he won’t date me? Last night he said “Dammit, Karen! I wish we had met eight weeks ago!” He was complimenting me on Match just a WEEK ago! Isn’t it kind of soon for him to be exclusive with a girl who is “NOT his girlfriend”? I know I want him to see who’s out there, because I am confident that I’m a prize. But he says “I don’t believe in soul mates” — ok, neither do I, but I also don’t believe in making do! Normally I’m cool and collected – this is the first one who has me highly motivated in, like … ever. HELP!
I’m sorry, Karen. It means something to me that you’ve read my stuff, bought my books, and took the time to ask me this question, but it forces me to ask an uncomfortable question in return:
Why didn’t you absorb any of the information?
First of all, you’re communicating with 3 men? If you read Finding the One Online, you’d know that number should be 7-10 men, because if you’re screening men properly using my 2/2/2 rule, most of them will fall short or disappear, leaving you with 1-2 dates per week.
Next, your doctorate, your lovely home, your fulfilling job, your accomplished children…all of them mean absolutely nothing to a stranger on a dating site. If you read Why He Disappeared, you know two things:
1. “No man is real until he’s your boyfriend.” He’s just hope, fantasy, projection and potential. You don’t get excited about a guy until he’s committed to you, specifically because there’s such a high likelihood that things won’t pan out. It’s healthy to temper unrealistic expectations so that you don’t turn into well…this woman who is writing this email.
2. “Men are all about feelings.” How does he feel when he’s in your presence? Appreciated? Admired? Accepted? If so, there’s a good chance, he’s gonna stick around. Except for one instance…
No man is real until he’s your boyfriend.
Your guy met someone he liked more than you before he met you. Or maybe after. It doesn’t really matter. Point is that this guy has cast his vote with his actions. He’s taking down his profile to focus on her and explore the relationship. The fact that it probably won’t last is irrelevant, since most relationships break up before the altar.
What’s strange here is that you think he made a mistake here. Really? Says who?
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. You’re talking to three guys at once. You like one guy more than the rest. You have four great dates with him. You both decide to take down your profiles and explore a relationship. One of the other men feels upset, hurt and confused. He writes you an email: “I don’t understand! You were saying nice things about me a WEEK ago! I have a great job, a great house, a great family! You’re making a mistake! You’re choosing the WRONG GUY!”
Most women would find such an email to be somewhere between laughable and pathetic and would not even bother to respond, except maybe to block his number.
So, Karen, it’s not that you’re wrong to feel you’re a catch. It’s that you’re wrong to insist that you’re HIS catch. It’s like you think you know what’s better for him than he does.
You can’t convince someone to like you more than he does.
You can’t logic your way into a relationship by pitting your qualities against the other girl.
You certainly can’t tell him that his feelings are wrong and that he’d be happier with you, when a) you don’t know the other girl and b) you haven’t even MET this guy.
You understand that, right? You’re head over heels over a fantasy, a creation of your own imagination. You’ve largely catfished yourself.
You’re head over heels over a fantasy, a creation of your own imagination. You’ve largely catfished yourself.
Therefore, Karen, please take my metaphorical advice:
You’ve just accidentally driven your car past the yellow tape and orange cones into Crazytown. I suggest you drive it back to the other side of the border before you cause any more damage.
If his relationship breaks up and he contacts you again (which is quite likely), you can still save face and be given another chance. But if you utter a word of this to him, he will dismiss you so fast you won’t know what hit you.
In the meantime, refresh yourself with Finding the One Online and learn to email 7-10 guys simultaneously.
Believe me, you won’t worry this much about another guy when you have a deep bench of other guys lining up to meet you.