Here’s a question from Renee (#70 in the comment queue) that brings up one of the most common and most destructive things when we’re hoping a relationship will get off the ground and soar:
This is my first post on this site. I just ordered Commitment Blueprint and am feeling very excited while I wait for its arrival.
I do have a question, though, that I’d love to get your input on…
There’s this guy I’ve been seeing for a little while long distance. We met on eHarmony and emailed, txted and then talked on the phone for a total of about 2.5 months before we met in person. At that point, we had been txting everyday for several weeks and talking on the phone 3-4 times a week.
Anyway, we live about 6 hours apart and for the first meeting, he drove to my city to meet me. We initially had just planned on having a Friday night date (he stayed at a nearby hotel), but we enjoyed each other’s company so much that we also went out to breakfast Saturday and then went out again Saturday night (I had to work some Saturday afternoon, so he had to entertain himself for a few hours, which he seemed ok with).
During that weekend, he was so considerate and generous, that it really impressed me. He arrived Friday with a book by an author we both like, showed up Saturday for lunch with flowers and picked me up for dinner with a little trinket he had purchased at a tourist attraction he visited while I was working Saturday afternoon. I felt very comfortable with him and by Saturday night, we were holding hands a lot and sharing casual kisses like people who’ve been dating a while.
So, the next episode of the story goes like this — before he left my city during his first visit, he asked if maybe we could get together again in his city. I said I thought we could work something out and when the subject of July 4th weekend came up, I mentioned that that might be a good weekend for that visit we talked about. (I know — I should have waited for him to suggest). Mistake number 2 was that I booked the ticket myself using my airline miles instead of letting him handle it (he made some motions towards handling it, but I didn’t feel like he was being decisive enough about making it a definite plan, although there were some extenuating circumstances for both of us that prevented us from making the plans firm in advance. So the end result was that I booked my ticket on Friday for a Sat-Mon visit (staying at his house).
He showed up at the airport with a can of my favorite soft drink and a monkey he’d won for me that morning while out to breakfast with some buddies (playing one of those games you see in the lobby of some restaurants). Things still felt good.
The weekend was full of tons of his friends (he has a boat dock at his house and he owns a boat with a couple of friends, so his house tends to be the gathering place for his group of friends when they go out on the boat). He had warned me that the July 4th weekend was a big boating weekend and would and that we would be surrounded by his friends, but we had had a quiet weekend at my house 2 weeks prior, so I didn’t mind spending a lot of the time with his pals…he was affectionate and solicitous throughout the trip, and I ended up sleeping with him the first night of the stay (despite my initial intention to hold off for at least another night or two).
By the way, mistake number 3 was that I took his car to Starbucks Sun morning and he was extremely low on gas, so I filled up the car…he had mentioned that the car was low on gas and that there was some cash in the console if I needed to put in some, but I took it upon myself to fill up the tank anyway.
I think he felt kind of guilty that I had filled up his gas tank and I’m not sure, but that might have been his motivation for buying me a Coach purse when we went shopping at an outlet mall near his house on Monday. It was sweet, but I would have appreciated it more if I didn’t suspect he was “paying me back” for filling his gas tank.
So, to make a long story longer, lol, my trip got extended a day because of a screw up with the return ticket and I think we were both reeeaaally ready for me to head back home by the time I left Tues — work was beckoning each of us and we were both exhausted.
Fast forward to this week — got txts from him Tues evening to see if I got in ok and got a couple of txts Wed, during which I shared that a situation I had been dreading was likely coming to a head on Thurs (it was a situation we had discussed in earlier conversations).
So…not a word from him Thurs or Fri, despite the fact that he knew I was likely being faced with a pretty difficult and stressful situation (long story, but the gist is that my best friend abused my trust and I ended up having to call the police on her for taking some of my property…an action which obviously severed the relationship and has been very stressful).
He finally touched base with me Saturday morning with a text indicating that he had gone to bed early Fri (which I guess was his way of letting me know he didn’t do anything that night) and asking me about work and the situation with my (now former) friend.
I was so hurt that he decided to choose that time — the time I was obviously going to be facing something stressful — to pull a disappearing act. My feelings of rejection, of course, were compounded by the fact that we had become sexually inimate the weekend before, so I was feeling vulnerable about that.
We haven’t discussed our future at all (it seems a little early to have that discussion?) though we did talk early on about the fact that we were both looking for someone special as opposed to just looking for someone to date.
So my question is this — I know I’m not supposed to ask a guy why he hasn’t called, but his not calling (with all the extenuating circumstances) hurt my feelings and made me feel ignored. I didn’t answer his text from Saturday because I wasn’t sure whether to communicate my feelings to him or follow the rule about not questioning him about not calling.
Could you please give me some guidance? I was kind of curious as to whether he’d follow up his text from yesterday with another text or call today, despite the fact that I didn’t reply, but I realize this is partially game playing and I’m trying to be more authenticate in my actions. On the other hand, I feel as though I’ve leaned forward a bit too much and since I can tell from his past actions that this guy definitely has it in him to row the boat (if he so chooses), I’m also kind of feeling like not answering is a way of leaning back to see if he’ll step forward again. What do you think?
Here’s my answer:
Renee – your holding back until you get clear on how to answer makes perfect sense…as long as it’s not playing games.
Not answering a man who’s clearly asked you to respond to him is a no-no. It’s not truthful, it’s holding back, it’s self-protective, it does you no good.
This is why scripting in advance is helpful…
At this point in the relationship – coming from your feelings of “hurt” about his not calling is totally inappropriate – sorry.
Notice I’m not saying the feeling” of hurt is inappropriate – ALL your feelings are wonderful and crucial and your compass for how to live your life.
But “coming from” that place of hurt and resentment, without working it through – especially so early in this dating relationship (and that’s all it is right now…) will not work for you.
You have to process this feeling first, and then script how you want to share it with him.
You can share with him that you’re fairly “high-maintenance,” and that you noticed you were feeling weird and bad without contact with him during that rough space that week, and that you realize that you require a level of contact in a relationship that might be a deal-breaker for you and a relationship with him, if he’s not that kind of person…IF that IS a deal-breaker.
When you enter into a “partnership” with someone – that’s when you share upsets, work through stuff, etc…as it comes up – and you can then work through the way what triggers you triggers HIM – and wade through it all – but in this phase, when he’s just feeling around to see what he wants with you…you need to be Circular Dating – so that you don’t FEEL this hurt!!!
In other words – he doesn’t exist unless he’s right in front of you – physically or by phone, email…and when you DO need to express stuff to him (after you’ve worked it through your own process, it comes out like this: “You know…when I was going through all that crap with my friend, and those days I didn’t hear from you – I felt all weird and icky. I guess I need a lot of TLC and contact…so I was wondering if we’re a good match there?”
See – that’s WAY different than telling him he did something wrong and HURT you.
At this point, you just don’t have context and commitment and TIME with him to process through that kind of drama.
What you want to do is USE this situation as an opportunity to build a deeper emotional bridge with him.
Because if you stuff this down, you’ll feel sugar-coated and fake, and you don’t want that.
And if you tell him he “hurt” you – he’s going to feel attacked and back off.
But – if you share your experience and your feeling state with him, in a positive spirit of wanting to use this opportunity to open your heart and let him know who you are…that feels GREAT to a man!
He sounds like the kind of guy who wants to make you happy – and you sound like the kind of girl who has difficulty receiving from a man.
That’s your challenge.
As for what’s going on now between you: Either the receiving you want from him – his calling you and consoling you and caring about your well-being – is not in his style of “giving”…
OR – he’s backing up a bit and wants to limit his emotional involvement until he knows what he wants with you –
Your job here is to be emotionally forthcoming and open – WITHOUT making him WRONG – and “hurt” is just one of those words that says “you screwed up” to a man.
The thing of it is, you wanted something from him he didn’t give you – and you want to openly communicate what makes you happy so he can do those things – but not make him feel bad in the process.
Think of this – so MANY things happened between you up to now that were weird and uncomfortable – and no one said anything! You could have brought up the ticket, or the gas tank, and had an open discussion there about feeling weird about it…
The attitude I want you to have is this:
1. I’m going through a tough time.
2. I’m dating many men, and hanging back and observing which one can make me the happiest.
3. This tough time is an opportunity for you to show me how good you can be at making me happy.
4. I noticed you didn’t call to check up on me and how I’ve been doing.
5. This felt bad, because I really wanted you to come out as top man, here – but I realize now I shouldn’t be focusing on any one man – even you – so I’m just now focusing on what it is I feel and need, and how I those feelings and needs might “morph” by…
6. Making this adjustment: By believing that I am loved by me, by the world, by the universe, and by you – that the ‘Waterwheel” of love is ALWAYS turning towards me – and that when I DO share my feelings and needs and upsets and disturbances (even the drama-filled ones) with you…it can be in the spirit of sharing my heart and opening up the opportunity for both of us to go deeper – and NOT as an act of my hurt or resentment or anger and attempt to shame you or change you.
So, Renee, walk yourself through this process, and then try scripting out a way to express this next time you meet in person or by phone that would HELP him get to know you, and HELP him know how to make you happy – rather than do the damage of explaining to him what he did wrong to hurt you.
Realize that you are in a time of evaluating him – NOT trying to CHANGE him or mold him…
If you can keep this attitude and this spirit – you can pretty much say ANYTHING that feels real to you…
Now – the most important step here is for you to work on your Receiving. You’ve got a masculine energy man there, and you’re blocking his energy by putting up your masculine front…it’s showing up in those things you did (the things were irrelevant – it’s just what they demonstrate about your ‘vibe” that counts)…and the fact that you’re focusing on him so hard.
It’s WAY too soon for you to be exclusive with him, or considering him anything more than a “date” – even though you are now sexually intimate. That has nothing to do with it.
This is all about you bringing out the soft in you so it can live on your outside, and he can get “in” to you. (Like the fern on the rock in the picture.)