You Didn’t Lose The Person You Thought You Lost

You Didn't Lose The Person You Thought You Lost

You know what it’s like to get devastated when a promising new relationship doesn’t work out? Well, take heart – you didn’t actually lose ANYTHING.

In fact, you gained the freedom to find the person you ARE meant to be with.

It may not seem to be the case, but I want to point out to you that it’s a blessing when your dead-end relationship finally comes to a close…

A client of mine shared a story with me recently.

A lawyer in her mid-50s, Carol said that she’d gone out with this new guy three times.

He was older, divorced, and a real gentleman.

Unlike many men she’d met online, this man made a great effort each time.

He’d make plans in advance, email her in between dates, compliment her when he saw her, pay for everything, and talk about having a future together.

He was even a great kisser!

But one night while the new couple was fooling around on the couch, things got a little weird.

To avoid going too far, too fast, Carol (after some heavy petting), said what I told her to say when putting on the brakes:

“I also want you badly, but I only sleep with guys that I know I’m in a committed relationship with. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do a lot of other fun things together, but I don’t want the man I have sex with to be hitting on other women on tomorrow.”

The idea behind this is to let the man know that you ARE into him, but that you have just this one very reasonable boundary.

Generally, guys can understand this.

If he’s really into you, this is his chance to step up and become your boyfriend. If he’s not, this is a clear sign to get out.

Either way, it’s impossible for us to disrespect a woman who says she only has sex in a committed relationship. Even if we’re not getting our instant gratification met, it’s impossible for a man to find fault with a sexual woman who values herself.

A man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

Alas, Carol never heard from her guy the day after, or the day after that, or ever again. And when she started thinking, she started to get upset with me. After all, it was my advice that had killed her relationship. For all she knows, maybe if she would have slept with him, he would have asked her out again.

Uh uh. Nope. Fuhgeddaboutit.

Setting down boundaries for sex is a truth test – and this guy failed with flying colors.

I’m not suggesting that you “test” men. Not at all. But a man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

And this is why, despite her disappointment, Carol really shouldn’t be all that upset. Nor should you be upset if you ever set a reasonable boundary and the man walks away.

What’s a reasonable boundary?

Wanting to talk in between dates, making weekend plans in advance, committing to a relationship after three months.

If you suggest these in a reasonable way at a reasonable point in time and a guy refuses, then guess what?

He’s NOT the guy she thought he was. You didn’t lose your future husband. You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband. See, your future husband, when faced with the prospect of waiting for sex will do one of two things:

a) Decide that, yes, he does like you enough to be your boyfriend. He was just too afraid to push things that fast, but he’s glad you suggested it.

b) Decide that he’s not ready to commit yet, but he appreciates your respectable stance. You’ll both get semi-naked, have a little fun, and no hearts will be broken.

Your future husband does NOT:

c) Bail like a rat leaving from a sinking ship.

So if you’re worrying about why some guy disappears suddenly on you – without any reasonable explanation – the thing to know is this:

You didn’t lose your future husband.

You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband.

You’re OVERRATING that person’s character.

He is NOT a good partner for you.

Be GLAD that you learned that this person is not in it for the long haul.

Remember, despite all your bad experiences, there are good men out there – men just like you, who are wondering where to connect with you.

The only responsibility you have is to continue to make the effort to meet them.

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  1. 1

    Interesting. I didn’t meet my guy online and he said that when I feel ready to have sex he wants to.  He says he’s not dating anyone else. I don’t want to push him, but if we are to have sex I want us to be exclusive.

  2. 2

    Good post, I can relate 🙂 Can I ask a question? There is one thing that I’m currently trying to figure out that this post has touched upon. I am not sure how I feel about this line:
    “I also want you badly, but I only sleep with guys that I know I’m in a committed relationship with.”
    I agree that sleeping with relative strangers isn’t a great idea, and taking it slow appeals to me a lot, but here’s the thing. The way I understand it, from reading this blog, other resources, and my own experience, dating is a way of getting to know each other better, the end goal being to get to know each other well enough that we can accurately determine whether we’ll work out well together long-term.
    Now, the way I see it, sex, in addition to being a fun and satisfying activity, is also a way of getting to know a person better. Which is why I am not sure if it’s safe to commit before having sex. Here’s a hypothetical situation – I meet a man online, we hit it off, we spend time together, we become exclusive, we take our profiles down, then we have sex. Then he lets his guard down completely around me and acts more like himself than he used to previously. I get to see the new side of this guy that I never saw before.
    Now, suppose that I do not like what I see. Suppose I see new things about that guy, that he’s been careful not to expose around me before, that I really do not like and cannot live with. But I’m already committed to him, and my online account is closed. Doesn’t this complicate things a little? I mean, I can and should still break up with him, but won’t it be a lot more difficult under the circumstances?
    I’m honestly trying to understand this and set a strategy for myself. Help me out here please.

    1. 2.1

      Sex is not what ultimately reveals the true nature of a person… time does that all on it’s own. That’s why he is suggesting getting to know each other enough to decide if you want to be together. Enough time to know if this person is into you or just sex

    2. 2.2

      If you think about it simply; you can and should always break up with someone if you find they’re not the right fit for you regardless of how you met them. As for your profile, you can always get it back on or re-create one.

  3. 3

    I think there is a basic contradiction here. Carol only went out with this man 3 times, but later on EMK says that it’s appropriate to expect a commitment after 3 MONTHS. An educated guess would tell me that she’d probably been seeing this man for less than a month, maybe just a couple of weeks. I think to expect a committed relationship after only 3 dates is absurd. If you don’t want to have sex outside of a committed relationship, then wait longer before you have sex.  

    This is why I think that slowing down physical intimacy and dating other people until a relationship becomes exclusive is a good thing. If a man is at your place and you are practically having sex, he will want to go all the way. Doing heavy petting on the third date and then trying to stop it with an exclusivity talk may not give the desired result.

    Plus, to some people, the words “committed relationship” are tantamount to “marriage is on the horizon”!

    This all sounds so “high school” when you are talking about middle-aged people, but some things never change!

  4. 4

    Yes, I’m wondering the same thing. Evan has written in the past about not delaying sex too long and it seems to me that waiting three months for somone to become a boyfriend is too long to put off sex.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Oh, and the other thing that y’all don’t seem to be following is this:

      I don’t advocate for sex or commitment after 3 dates OR 3 months. I merely point out that you need to know that a man is into YOU, not into SEX. If he’s excited about you, you’re excited about him, and you both want to be exclusive after 3 dates, GREAT. You’re an instant couple, driven by passion, and you can have amazing sex now and figure out if you’re compatible later. But if you sleep with the guy on Date 3 because you WANT to, you run the significant risk that you become the one-night stand or booty call option.

      My advice to hold out for commitment doesn’t tell you to pressure him for commitment. It reminds you that having sex with you is a VALUABLE experience and if you let every cute guy do it on the third date, you’re gonna get burned. I’m not even sure how you can argue with this.

      1. 4.1.1

        Evan, I definitely agree with some of the things you are saying. However , I may be a little old school saying that at the very least women should try to wait until they are engaged. Having sex shouldn’t be something someone takes lightly. And, it’s sad to even know that women are not aware of their worth and letting men sleep with them so easily. I am not even close to being perfect. I’m 33 and have been with 2 men to date. The second guy I slept with, married me. And, we’ve been married for almost 14 years! The worst thing a woman can do to herself is to sleep with so many men that it ruins her chances for finding someone really good in the future.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          We agree. You are old school.

          97% of people have premarital sex.

          If you want to be in the 3%, that restricts your dating pool. Your call.

        2. GoWiththeFlow


          “The worst thing a woman can do to herself is to sleep with so many men that it ruins her chances for finding someone really good in the future.”

          Judgmental much?

          Sorry to see a woman perpetuating a sexual double standard about women.

  5. 5

    I really like the theme of this post; once I fully accepted the idea that you can’t ‘lose’ the right one because if he was the right one then you wouldn’t have lost him, my worries about my dating past and future diminished greatly.

    Goldie#2- I’m with you regarding getting to know someone sexually;  this is why I don’t require being in a committed relationship before having sex.

    1. 5.1

      Women like you spoil men with easy sex to the point where women like me have a hard time requiring respect and a commitment first.

      1. 5.1.1

        I totally agree. most men I know though don’t want committed relationships with women who give in too easy. we want the unattainable. Keep on doing your thing, you’ll find him.

      2. 5.1.2

        Women like you don’t consider the man’s perspective.

        It’s only date three and you think you can set boundaries with him?! This guy bought and planned three dates and all she has to do is show up. And then she is feeling sexual vibes, but she  stops because of a fricking STRATEGY?!

        No one likes a strategizer. If you could be more in touch with your ability to trust your own instincts, you wouldn’t need to set arbitrary limits and no one can write you an article teaching you intuition.

        Moreover – asking for a commitment is communicating that you are the prize. Why are you the prize? You’re just some stranger.

        You are trying to artificially limit his options. And it proves nothing, because the player dude who wants to just f*ck is going to say “yes, I commit” (lol) and f*ck you and anyone else anyway. But  a lot of guys will commit out of excitement and insecurity.

        Two equal and awesome people connect without strategies.

        1. Rachel bowskill

          Nik i couldnt agree with you more.   Well said .    you are right .

      3. 5.1.3

        I totally agreee!

      4. 5.1.4
        Angie C.

        BAMM! You hit the nail right on the head! It’s alot of women that will easily give it up, which makes it VERY hard for someone like me (who requires a certain level of respect, connection, and care for me) in order to be comfortable enough to even get to the sex phase. I aint got to be engaged to the man, and he dont javw to be perfect.. but show me that you genuinally care about me…Shoot sometimes I wish I didn’t have those srandards because it feels like I’m missing out

  6. 6

    Well, I’m a guy that feels pretty weird if I meet a girl and she wants to have sex right away, which seems to be more of the norm these days.   Most of the guys I know talk about wanting one night stands and easy sex, but when push comes to shove, we would all rather have a woman put up some boundaries and make us wait or at least work a little more for it.   I start to feel like there are red flags if I go on a date and she wants sex that same night.   I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it; sometimes that’s more willpower than I’ve got, but it totally kills the idea that this could be relationship material.   There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally I’d rather wait if I really like her, it makes her more valuable in my eyes.

    1. 6.1

      thank you for giving us your male perspective!  

    2. 6.2

      That is interesting and valuable perspective, as you hit it on the head that doesn’t necessarily mean that a ‘good guy’ (as Evan often mentioned) wouldn’t have sex if the woman was going for it. However, ultimately, if the man was seeking something meaningful, he’s likely seeking it with a woman that is going to have him work a little for it first. I’ve been dating someone for two months, and we’ve not had sex. We’ve made out and it was wonderful. I’m all for accelerating the the intimacy at a slow pace over time and let’s see if it evolves to a relationship. It’s worked for a year now, since my last relationship (last time I’ve had sex), as the men that I’ve previously dated – well, they never asked for or wanted a committed relationship. I saved myself heartache several times this past year, as a result, as I know none of them would have called or they would have added me to their booty call list. I’m not interested in that for my life nor putting my sexual health at risk for the sake of ‘let’s see if I do put out, if he’ll call me the next day’.

  7. 7

    Dawn #4

    I don’t think it has to be 3 months (although I’d think at least a month or 2 as a general rule), just whatever you are comfortable with. I do think 3 dates is a bit soon for the exclusivity talk.  

  8. 8

    Honestly if I was a guy I would be put off by how Carol approached on the subject. By explaining that she would like to sleep with him but only in a committed relationship because she would then wonder if he was flirting with other women on match, comes off to me as insecure to me. I don’t think a justification is necessary. Let the guy know you like to wait a while before sleeping with someone then let it go. Carol can then sit back and watch his behavior and decide if he meets her standard of a committed relationship. I too think Evan offers a bit of mixed messages. 3 dates is too short of a period of time to talk about commitment.

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz


      It’s not insecure to say, “I don’t sleep with men who are potentially sleeping with other women.” It’s practical. Notice that I didn’t instruct Carol to pressure him to be in a relationship. I just said that she should have her own (very reasonable) boundaries. No intercourse without commitment.

      I think it’s actually funny that you say, “3 dates is too short of a period to talk about commitment.” Really? But 3 dates is a perfect time to have sex?

      You got it backwards, sweetheart.

      You can be a perfectly sane, emotionally healthy, sexual being who wants to attack your man on Date 3 – just be forewarned: there’s only a 50% chance he ever calls you again. If you wait for him to be exclusive with you, there’s a 100% chance.

      I like my odds over yours.


      1. 8.1.1

        Hi Evan
        imet a guy online. He asked me out on his first message to me. Made a dat for 5 days later.. Didn’t ask for or get my number. But two days later asked to meet for coffee. Which I agreed too. I gave him my number because he didn’t want to chat. Wanted to meet in person and talk. Day 5 came with thebig date (which went very well). I didnt hear fro. Him again for two days (in all fairness heknew I ws busy with a family function) then when hecalled again he asked when I was free again and made plans. It was on this, the third date he declared h hadn’t been looking for a relationship but that he wanted one with me. Two days later out again and he told me that he didn’t want to have sex with me until I was ready. I hadn’t even brought up any of this. Then the next day/date he asked me to be his girlfriend.
        Because of your blogs that I have read I do believe this guy is totally into me and not pressuring me into anything. He definitely stepped up because he sees something in me and wants to know me and be in a relationship with me. Sex will happen in time but the pressure is off. In the past I have given into desires and advnces. This is so much more refreshing. It’s not been long but we have covered sp much ground already without sex. I’m appreciative of the past men who “disappeared” because they themselves as myself didn’t or couldn’t set boundaries and moved to sex too quickly. Men are honest and I started listening.
        Thanks Evan for you male insight as well as the other men who post comments. The truth lies in knowing and understanding men.
        Thanks Jennifer

        1. Lynn

          In my opinion and experience with domestic violence. If you are not friends from the get go then the foundation is extremely weak. All my life ive went to fast and it didn’t end well. So now after almost getting killed by ” Mr. Right “, I’m taking Lots of time to find me again. When I do get ready to be in a relationship then I’m going way slow. A friend told me that us women have a million dollar coupon between our legs, so stop shopping at Walmart and step into a more expensive store. Lol I thought that was a good analogy and makes sense to me. But I’m just staying out of it for now because I must find myself before I can find anyone else. I’m healing. Oh and my abuser is doing Alot of time behind bars! He picked the wrong woman! 🙂

      2. 8.1.2


    2. 8.2

      *slow clap for Laya*   Your comment is SPOT ON. Stop at “only in a committed relationship”. No further words necessary. By continuing with the script that Evan provided, you are indirectly accusing him of being a womanizer. Is it any wonder he ran? How many women on here would be interested in dating a guy if he came out and said, “now if I call you to make plans with me, what are the odds that you’re going to flake out on me?”. Guessing not very many.

  9. 9

    Evan #9,
    100% ? Surely you jest 🙂
    i’m not against people waiting as long as they want for sex. But there are people out there that will say ‘okay we’re exclusive’ just to get some and never call again.
    So i’ve got a bit of a quibble with that 100%

    1. 9.1

      Sad but true. Maybe 80%. I hope 🙂

  10. 10

    Second that Evan.

  11. 11

    Evan is right. I held out to have sex with my boyfriend until we were in a committed relationship initiated by him. It has been a year and a half now, and he is asking me my ring size, saving extra money, and talking about our future and having children. We are both in our late thirties, and our love is a beautiful thing. He was worth the wait.

    1. 11.1

      Awesome Diana! Congratulations! 🙂

  12. 12

    The one  thing that concerns me is that she started to engage in heavy petting and then put the breaks on.   May have sounded like a bait and switch to her date.   Why even get yourself into that situation to begin with?   If you truly want to wait until this guy is committed – then heavy petting is out in my book until I see some indication that he’s truly interested in getting to know me better.   Maybe he didn’t call her again because he thought she was a tease, had an agenda, and was pressuring him in a roundabout way.   Personally, I don’t engage in heavy petting with someone I just started dating unless I plan on going all the way with it.   Let’s be adults here.

  13. 13

    I have to disagree with Carol’s whole approach, too.   The one thing that concerns me  is that she engaged in “heavy petting” with this guy knowing full well that she would not have sex with him unless he was willing to commit to an exclusive relationship.   Why even go there?      In her dates mind, that may  have sounded  like a bait and switch or some sort of agenda.   I don’t do “heavy petting” with anyone I don’t plan on sleeping with.   It’s a tease.   If a guy did this to me, I would be turned off, too.  

  14. 14

    You are strumming my pain with your fingers, as the old song says.   The promising guy has pretty much disappeared after I asked for time on Date 3.   Sigh.   Why my heart is the open beginner variety, I don’t know.   At least your blog helps by confirming what I’m seeing from my angle. Thanks, I guess.

  15. 15

    You can’t just consider if he really likes you, you have to ask, do you really like him?

    A while ago I met a girl I thought was AWESOME in every way for me.   We had a ton in common  on paper, great chemistry and ended up having  sex on Date #2.   Since she was very good looking and in her late 20s, you can imagine my surprise when I found out I was only her #4.   I was sure it meant that I was special.

    I knew I liked her and I was sure she liked me.   I started to act like we were already boyfriend and girlfriend, mostly by being too nice.   Women like guys who keep a aloof in the beginning and I scared her away.   She told me two weeks later she didn’t think I was “for real.”

    It was a while ago, but I  still believe that I would have been a very good partner for her.   I know she would have been a good one for me.   Bottom Line: don’t go too fast.  

  16. 16

    Count me in the camp that doesn’t do “heavy petting” unless it’s as a prelude to intercourse. Does anyone post high school?

    Also, to me exclusive and commitment aren’t necessarily the same thing. I don’t want to share my body with someone who is sharing theirs with other people. That’s dating “exclusively”, or to put it less ambiguously, “focusing on each other for now”.

    Commitment comes later, after compatibility, including sexual compatibility has been established.

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Selena and Diana,

      “Exclusive” and “commitment” – for all intents and purposes – are the same. Are you not actively dating or searching for other people online? Yes? Then you’re committed and you should feel safe having sex because he’s interested in YOU.

      As far as whether it’s normal and ethical to say no to intercourse but yes to everything else? Hell, I made a dating career out of it. If YOU insist that heavy petting must equal sex, that’s on you. For plenty of women, it is not. And it is, just like I said in Why He Disappeared, JUST like high school. You slowly round the bases. Just cause you let a guy get to first doesn’t mean he hits a home run.

      Put another way: most women I know have either a physical or mental list of all the men they’ve slept with. I don’t know many who remember every single “heavy petting” incident. Sex is a big deal to most women, which is why there are different emotional attachments surrounding it.

      Feel free to equate oral sex and intercourse. Feel free to sleep with men without commitment. I don’t judge you in the least. But if my job is to advise women on how to ethically and effectively protect themselves from men who will use them, my advice is far more effective than, “Well, it’s three dates in, he’s hot, he’s got my pants off, so, why not?”

      Followed by five days of agonizing that he hasn’t called you and is still active on Match.

      1. 16.1.1

        Awesome post Evan! I got it the first time, but it’s necessary that you keep rephrasing it a few more times for some women who are still in denial of how important it is too become exclusive before sex with their man!

  17. 17

    @Dawn #4
    I waited four months. I didn’t come up with a specific amount of time, I just wanted to wait until I knew we were in an exclusive relationship AND I felt comfortable with the idea of being physically intimate with the man.
    My partner said he was willing to wait… yes, he said I made him wait a while, but he understood why. I wasn’t playing a game or anything, but he said he appreciated the fact that I set a standard and made him reach it. He also proposed to me eight months later.
    While I don’t care about how others choose to conduct their relationships — people can all have sex on the first date or wait until marriage, as far as I’m concerned — I was never worried about the fact that if I made a man wait for longer than three dates, that I might lose him. That’s a TERRIBLE way, in my opinion, to go into a relationship, because you’re basically violating your personal standards to keep a man from leaving. You’re acting out of fear, not out of personal choice.
    I really hope that women aren’t having sex when they’re not ready because they believe that three months without having sex with a man is “too long.” That’s really scary to me that we live in a society where a lot of people consider three months without sex to be “too long.”

  18. 18

    Evan, a quick question – Would you think it is more appropriate to tell a guy BEFORE  bringing him into your house and BEFORE engaging in “heavy petting” that you find him attractive, but don’t want to be part of his rotation?

    I think it is generally good practice far as safety and health are concerned that one doesn’t sleep with someone who is sleeping with multiple women, not just emotionally.   This way the guy knows your boundaries BEFORE you put the brakes on.

    Also, you never speak about this… while some guys are “good catches” on the outside (polite, respectful, well-educated, good jobs and good families), they completely lack passion and sexual abilities.   What if this *is* important to us?

  19. 19

    I think it really is a matter of readiness and maturity.   When I started dating the love of my life, I told him that he was a really nice guy and he took that as a bad thing because girls have been telling him he was too nice all of his dating life.   When I told him he was nice, I truly meant it as a compliment.   He was a breath of fresh air.   Here we are two years later, and he is still a really nice guy.   Not a pushover, mind you.   But sweet, caring and someone I can rely on.   He still gives me butterflies.   I guess what I’m trying to say, is maybe this girl was not ready for a committed relationship and she got scared off.   I am 50 years old and done playing games.

  20. 20

    Ruby #3-

    Your last line about high-school- AMEN! That’s what I was thinking. Seriously- people in their 50s, and professionals, behaving like this? Asking the same kind of advice that a 17 year old would ask? I guess the whole ‘age brings wisdom’ saying is dead wrong.

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