Q: I met a guy online, and after two four-hour phone conversations, he declared he felt a “deep connection.” We had a romantic date, during which he made repeated declarations of his feelings. The next morning, he sent a somewhat angry text, observing that I’d logged in again on the dating site, and while I didn’t owe him anything, he found it odd. This led me to (stupidly and prematurely) proclaim him “the total package” for me and say I wouldn’t see anyone else. He stopped responding several days later. Weeks later, I got a strange phone call, and thought it was him. It wasn’t, but he asked me out. Our date was great, but he kept taking a half day to return texts. He claimed he’d just been busy at work, but I don’t think expecting a response before six hours pass is being overly needy. I heard nothing from him until two weeks later, when I mass e-mailed my new cell number. We had another date, and he asked for exclusivity, and even said he wouldn’t mind if I got pregnant. The next day, we sent friendly texts, but he again stopped responding. Now, I’m ending it for sure, but I’m reticent to date anyone else for fear this will happen again.
A: When you and the man in your life are talking about having a child, there are certain basic questions you need to ask yourselves, and they should be things like “Can we afford this?” and “Who will stay home with the kid?” not “Have we had a third date?”
I see so many red flags here, it’s hard to tell whether I’m being asked to give advice or send birthday greetings to Chairman Mao. There are two kinds of people who have four-hour phone conversations with near strangers, and they are airplane passengers who forgot to charge their iPad and people who are not merely looking for love but desperate to find it. The latter waste no time in proclaiming their “deep connection.” Emotionally healthy adults might get caught up in a moment (or hours of them), but they’re generally mindful that you find out who people are by observing them — in person, over time — and see whether what they say matches what they do. (Text this guy if you’re pregnant. He may or may not get back to you.)
Your problem isn’t who you date but who you are: a girl who needs love way too much to be in a position to land any. You can really, really want love, and be really, really sick of putting a bowtie on your cat and pretending you’re on a date. If you aren’t driven by neediness, you understand that an appropriate post-first-date text is “Hope to see you again soon!” — not “I’ve been monitoring your Internet activity and I couldn’t help but notice that you aren’t acting in a manner befitting a loving and faithful wife.” Only when you work on yourself to the point where you’re okay being alone are you ready to look for somebody else. Go looking prematurely, and there surely will be another guy like this one — one who right away says stuff like “I can’t bear to have you away from my side,” and before you know it, is showing you that he’s a man of his word by chaining you to his water pipe.
Q: A friend basically called dibs on a guy we were talking with at a bar, whispering to me right away that she found him really cute. I was bummed, but backed off. We all exchanged e-mails, and vowed to hang out when he’s back in town. He e-mailed me, and we’ve been writing a lot, and have lots in common.
I confessed this to my friend, and she seemed surprised and jealous. Now, he’s coming back — just to see me. Did I overstep friendship boundaries? Should I cancel?
A: The first one to remark on how glorious the sunset is doesn’t get to take it home. The same goes for some cute guy at a bar. You’ve got to appreciate the male way of doing things. They’ll get into a fistfight over a woman and then buy each other a beer; women get into a whispering game about a guy and then won’t speak to each other for 20 years. When your friend remarked on this guy’s looks, that was your cue to say, “Omigod! I’m into him, too!” Canceling now isn’t the answer. It’ll only make you resent your friend. If she truly is a friend, she’ll want you to be happy. She did try to pull a sneaky on you, but she ultimately knows that admiration isn’t the fast track to possession — assuming her typical reply to “Cute dress!” isn’t “Unzip me, and it’s yours.”
© 2010 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.