How Do I Avoid Clingy and Desperate Men?

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. 121

    I find myself in this same situation.  I always wanted a guy that was SO into me. I am recently divorced and told this guy I really wanted to take things really slow.  Before our first date he was texting me constantly about how beautiful I am, how he wants to hold me, kiss me, look into my eyes and how he can’t stop thinking about me all day.

    I loved it yet at the same time it creeped me out.  Why? Because I felt like he was just into it for himself.  Like I was just a toy and he found a woman who was interested in him.

    Then I find out before our first date that he doesn’t even own a car, he’s 50., and then publicly asks all his friends on Facebook to give him a ride to our date. I mean I had red flags blinking at me but he was nice and polite so he deserves at least a second date and then I will gently dump him, claiming it is all me for not being ready to be in a relationship.

    But I did think to myself…hmmm if he showed up as a strong alpha male texting me all day long pulling up in a F250 I would probably be in LaLa Land.

    I do want a man to be so into me, but he also needs to show he’s a man.  Does that make sense?

  2. 122

    Or, she might want to try not kissing them until she’s ready to go beyond commitmentless dating…  Seriously – a kiss isn’t just a kiss to him, unless he’s socially inept.  He’s not reading her kisses wrong — she’s throwing them around like free cars at an Oprah taping…  She’s forgotten how special those can be, if treated properly.  And why is she kissing men she doesn’t really trust???  So what if they are hardly her first rodeo?  Maybe she ought to treat them like the were.  Problem: solved.

    Try reigning it in, honey!!!  Goodness…

  3. 123

    I am with Leah on this. I’m 44 single, no kids, divorced after 17 years of marriage. I would like to date and find someone, but I want to get to know you first. Don’t be clingy and texting all day while I’m working, telling me how much you miss me, and don’t dare say you love me after only one or two weeks. I’m I’m sick and say I’m not up to talking just respond my saying I hope you feel better soon we’ll talk more tomorrow you can even ask of Thera anything you can do, that’s perfectly acceptable but done keep texting or calling/talking.

  4. 124

    Compelled to say something because I recently met another guy who was incessantly calling/texting even before our 1st date (last night) texted 5 x today, TOLD ME “Call me tonight” (I did not call) but he’s called and texted twice tonight.  Pushy…I did not reply.  Controlling/needy, anyone?  Sorry but too much too soon.  I feel pressure.  An “expert” article I came upon conveyed “People who push to rush you into a relationship and keep tabs on you early on are dysfunctional, have major insecurity issues, etc. and want to “lock & load you” before you discover their issues!…”   Makes sense.Hey, I want to be PART of someone’s universe, not the CENTER of their universe.  At least, not for a couple months.  Takes time to get to know someone so why dive in immediately?   If a relationship starts out in full bloom, it’s not taking steps of progression.  Those usually crash and burn.   What’s the emergency?  True love will wait a couple months and if he is understanding, he will give her that time.

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