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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
I’m 30 years old, divorced with no kids, smart, pretty not only  on the outside but on the inside too (so people tell me,) very family oriented and have great values. I’ve followed your advice from A to Z and GOD HAVE THEY HELPED!!!! But now I’m extremely puzzled and need your advice. Less than a month ago, I started dating a guy who, according to my mother, I shouldn’t even be dating because he’s “way too good looking” and “guys like that” don’t like to be in steady relationships.

Anyway, I try to think about what you’ve said about your wife, how at the beginning she wasn’t the type of girl you were used to dating… And I’ve followed every step you talk about when it comes to her, “to be cool, calm, and collected…”

From day one, this guy and I had a great chemistry, in the sense that we truly enjoy each other’s company. He is the one that calls me (even if I’m like dying to call, I wait for his call,) he is the one that talks about seeing each other and so on… (No sex yet, as I want to get to know him a little better.) Well, last night he told me that he’s starting to genuinely like me, and that concerned him, because as perfect as that is, it’s not a good idea…. (As far as I know, I’m the only person he’s dating.) He told me that it wasn’t supposed to happen that way nor was he supposed to feel so comfortable around me!

So my question to you, Evan: Is this normal? Or is this a red flag? I really like this guy and don’t want to mess things up!   So I just smiled and avoided getting too deep in the subject as I noticed he was a bit stressed over it. I remember what you said about your wife, that she never asked where you guys were headed… I know you are super busy, but I’ve come such a long way, and I’m so proud of myself with all the changes I’ve made since I started reading your newsletters, that I don’t want to do or say the wrong thing here. What does it mean when he said that? Thank you soooo much and may God bless you, your wife and your beautiful baby that’s about to come!!!! —Mari

Dear Mari,

Thank you for your very kind words. I’m genuinely thrilled that you’re seeing positive changes in your love life since you started reading. And I chose your letter out of the hundreds of emails I get each month because I find it infinitely more challenging to take on a situation that is not at all black and white.

In fact, I’m guessing everyone reading this has been in the exact same position as you, with the same exact question:

How long do I invest in a man before I panic that I’m wasting my time?”

Believe the Negatives. Ignore the Positives,

And try though I might, this isn’t something that can easily be reduced to a simple science, because each individual man has his own unique set of issues.

What I will remind you is of the newsletter that I wrote less than six months ago, which proclaimed, “Believe the Negatives. Ignore the Positives.”

What I meant by that is that many women have willingly entered into new relationships and passionate affairs based on their feelings alone — the breathless waiting for his call, the physical need to touch him, the giddiness he inspires when you’re together, etc — all the while, conveniently ignoring the fact that he said at the very beginning, “I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”

So he feels like he’s off the hook because he told you the truth in the first place, you forget that he doesn’t want to be anybody’s boyfriend because of how you feel when you’re together, and one day, when you start to wonder where things are going, he reminds you of that conversation you had in your first week where he laid down the law.

…you forget that he doesn’t want to be anybody’s boyfriend because of how you feel when you’re together.

Every woman who proceeds to date a guy who “isn’t looking for anything serious” or deeper commitment is essentially driving over the orange cones and through the yellow tape that signify danger, and wondering why she always gets into an accident.

You ignored the warning signs, such as “I don’t want a girlfriend.” What did you expect?

This isn’t a matter of defending guys who date you even when they’re emotionally unavailable. This is merely pointing out that it happens ALL the time.

You’re Ms. Right Now, you want to be Ms. Right, but he’s not currently taking applications for that position.

Then why does he act so open? Why does he call me? Why does he treat me so well? Why does he hint at a future?

There are a couple of very reasonable answers to this question, but the primary ones are:

1)   It’s in his best interests to treat you well.

What possible purpose would it serve for him to be rude to you? Do you think that’s a proper way to treat somebody? Of course not. So he calls you (because he wants to see you), he sleeps with you (because he’s attracted to you), and he talks about falling in love one day (because he wants to fall in love one day.) It’s completely possible to do ALL of these things and still not want to have a serious committed relationship right this second. And that’s what you’re seeing over and over.

2)   He doesn’t KNOW what he wants.

You should understand this, because half the time, YOU don’t know what you want either! Do you want the exciting guy who leaves you breathless? The safe guy who treats you like gold and always lets you know where you stand? Do you want wild, unattached sex? Or to date around to explore your options while you focus on yourself and your career? Confusion and ambivalence are human traits, not just male ones. He may very well feel that he’s not ready for love or a committed relationship right now…and still legitimately be falling in love with you.

So what do you do, Mari?

You take it all in. You don’t make any rash decisions. You let him reveal himself in his actions and not just his words. You continue to be the woman that no man can leave.

And you pay attention to the signs that he’s not ready for deeper commitment — his anxiety, where he’s at in his career, how old he is, whether his friends are happily married, what he wants in the long run. If you see too many red flags, you get out.

But if you’re happy and he’s happy, he may just be adjusting to the present moment, his new reality — that he IS ready for love…with YOU. Give him a chance before you bail on him. The only way it can happen is if you let it happen, not if you pull the plug.