Written for Soulmatch

Dating Q&A #11:

Amber’s Worried, The Guy She’s Dating Is Still Looking Around

I have been seeing a 32-year-old man for about three months. We have been calling each other “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” since the second week. I took my profile off Yahoo! Personals at week five. He still has his profile active and is still signing on to Personals. Should I be concerned? Should I ask him if we are done looking or not? – Amber, Palm Springs, Calif.

David Wygant answers: To get straight to the point: you need to sit down with him and look him in the eyes and ask him why his profile is still on Yahoo! Personals. If you are calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend, then there needs to be trust between the two of you. If you are logging on and checking to see if he has logged on, then it sounds to me as though you have a relationship fraught with trust issues. You need to confront him with this and tell him that you logged on because you wanted to see if he was still logging on. That way he knows the reason why you are still looking at Yahoo! Personals. You need to have this conversation before the relationship goes any further!

Tina B.Tessina, Ph.D. answers: Please wake up and smell the coffee here. Calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend means very little if you haven’t had a serious conversation about commitment, and I can tell by your letter that you haven’t. If he’s keeping his options opn, you should be, too. Don’t try to force the relationship to be what you want it to be (in this case, more exclusive) – it won’t work. You can ask if both of you are done looking, but what if his ad still doesn’t disappear? You don’t know him very well, and you’re not really trying to know him – you’re making guesses and using wish fulfillment instead. Get out of the fantasy and find out what’s really going on. Is he looking for commitment? Has he told you what he wants? Are you sure he’s telling the truth? I think you are going way too fast and need to back off a little.

The Insightful Dater answers: I think it’s perfectly fine to ask him if you are both on the same page with looking – or stopping the search, as it were. It’s one of those fuzzy lines that you have to bring up and make clearer. He could have made some friends through Personals or be closing some loops. But he could also be keeping his options open, which would eventually be a red flag for just about anyone (it’s not just you). Bring it up and be confident about your decision to focus on him, and know what it is you want to ask of him (to take his profile down, to focus on you and him, etc.).

Sad he’s not bad

I have found that by being a nice guy I’ve put myself in a position of being pushed aside in favor of “bad boy”-type guys. However, women consistently say they want a nice guy. What is it that makes women do this? My friend Jeff is just the opposite of me and has more dates than I could even think about having. We have concluded that it comes down to “nice boy” vs. “bad boy.” What do you think? I hate to believe society has placed another preemptive measure on adult women, but it seems as such! – Doug, Midland, Texas

David Wygant answers: You are who you are, and you will attract who you are going to attract. Women who are attracted to bad boys will find Jeff more desirable. Women who like nice guys will find you more attractive. Jeff and his bad-boy ways may be repulsive to women who like “nice.” Doug, what you need to do is find out what type of woman you attract. It seems you want the women that Jeff attracts. Because of this, you miss all the potential women who are checking you out – women who are looking for a nice guy like you. The next time you go out with Jeff, let him have his fun with the women who desire him. I want you to look around the room and you will be amazed at the number of women who are checking you out. Pay attention to yourself and stop thinking about the women you cannot get. We all attract many people – the problem is that we spend too much time thinking about what we can’t have that we miss what we can have.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: Well, men have had two categories of women for centuries – the “good girl” who is marriage material, and the “bad girl” who is fun but not worthy of commitment. Women are just having their turn now. My question is, what do you want and who are you looking for? Your lack of clarity about this probably projects itself, and women react to the confusion. If you want Jeff’s life, I guess you’ll have to be more like him, but I bet it won’t make you happy. And the women he likes won’t make you happy, either. Are you looking for a long-term relationship? There are plenty of worthy women out there who are looking for the same thing. Are you looking for a good time and no expectations? Then you want a playgirl, who will probably be more attracted to the “bad boy” type. You’ll find, if you take the time to sort out your priorities and look a little deeper under the surface, that as soon as you’re clear about the kind of woman and relationship you want, she will appear, like magic.

The Insightful Dater answers: There are several myths that society and the media have perpetuated which seriously affect the romantic preferences of women today. We have all been influenced by hearing fairy tales, romanticizing the James Dean “bad guy” and seeing Walt Disney movies where the hero on the white horse rescues the princess. Your only hope is to find a woman who has faced the reality that such scenarios are, in fact, myths. After the leather jacket fades and the games wear on, the “bad guy” is just a bad guy (or maybe an immature one, or one who believes he should be something he’s not so he can land more dates). Doug, if you have half the dates Jeff does, but they are with women who are ready to explore life with a “nice guy,” then you are much further down the path toward happiness than your friend. If a woman pushes you aside for a “bad boy,” she’s not ready to be serious with someone like you, and you are better off knowing that upfront. Keep your mind and heart open and the right woman will come into your life.

Wrong to reach out?

I just met a man for coffee. Is it wrong for me to email him and tell him I had a good time, hoping in the back of my mind that he will contact me? – Carol, Perrysburg, Ohio

David Wygant answers: Let me ask you a question. Are you proactive in your life or reactive? A proactive person will go after what they want and will not waste valuable time thinking through every minor detail. Email him and tell him that you had a good time. Life is about taking charge and not waiting for the other person to react first. Take chances in your dating and follow your gut instincts and you will have better results than you ever dreamed of. Now write that email!

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: No, it’s not wrong, and it could be charming if you do it right. Write him a thank-you note and tell him something that you liked about him. We live in the new millennium, so you could even invite him out – preferably to something you both like that was mentioned over coffee. For example, if he had dessert with his coffee, invite him to a pie shop you know. Or, if you both talked about liking to walk, invite him for a walk in a local park. You could invite him to ride bikes, play frisbee or backgammon. The activity should be public and simple. However, keep in mind that if he was bowled over by you, he probably would have contacted you already. So if you do contact him, be prepared for either no response or a rejection, and move on.

The Insightful Dater answers: Why don’t you tell him that you realized you were hoping he would get in touch, and that made you think you should just get in touch with him and express the fact that you had a great time! If he feels the same way, he’ll be receptive to you making contact (and appreciative of your honesty) and then you can put the ball in his court about what is next. If you feel comfortable, you can also put it out there that you would like to see him again – that would really put the ball in his court. Just be ready for whatever comes back and don’t be attached to the outcome. He may be having coffee and getting to know a handful of women, which is OK (for both of you to be doing). Good luck and have fun!