Written for Soulmatch

Dating Q&A #12:

“I’m Dating A Workaholic. How Can I Get His Attention?”

I met a guy on the Internet about three months ago. The moment I saw him I knew I wanted to get to know him better. He responded, telling me that he is interested in me, too. The problem is that he is so caught up with his work all the time that he almost never has time to reply to my emails. I don’t want to come across as pushy, but I wonder if he really likes me or if he is just playing games. What am I supposed to do? – Sweetie, Atlanta

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: It’s nice that he said he was interested in getting to know you better, but his walk doesn’t match his talk. So, if I were you, I’d look for someone else. If he has no time to answer your emails, how will he ever have time for a relationship? In general, pay a lot more attention to how people behave than to what they say. The truth of how they feel is always in the behavior. Talk (or email) is cheap.

David Wygant answers: In three months he barely responds to your emails yet you still want to get to know this person. Why? Move on. You deserve better treatment than this. If someone gives you a lame excuse like this, he is really telling you that he does not have the time for you. In the future, don’t waste this much time on someone who does not respond to you.

The Insightful Dater answers: You need to determine what you want and need in a relationship (if a relationship is what you seek with this gent). Getting to know someone should be enjoyable, not hard. It’s not pushy to know what you want and inquire as to whether or not this is a possibility with someone. Get to the point quickly with him and you’ll know if it’s a game or if he’s willing to ante up some of his time toward getting to know you. If not, you can move on and worry less. You’ve heard it before, but indeed, there are many other fish in the sea.

What am I, a “help line”?

I never seem to get to a face-to-face meeting. I get a phone number, a couple of phone calls, and an email saying, “You’ve helped me clarify my feelings,” “I’m returning to old love,” “moving on,” “seeking a soul-mate,” etc. What am I doing wrong? – Carol, Chicago

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: Well, I don’t have much to go on here, but I’d say you’re being a counselor instead of a potential relationship. From what you say, I get the impression that you listen to these guys talk about their previous relationships and help them understand themselves better. If you want to be a counselor, get a license and earn a living at it. In your personal life, focus more on the interaction between you and the guy. Ask him about things other than his previous love. Respond to him with information about your interests, and fun things you could do together. Get face-to-face as soon as possible. If he doesn’t make that suggestion, make it yourself. You’re not real to him until you’re in his presence. So suggest, “There’s this lovely little coffee shop I know. Would you like to meet there?”

David Wygant answers: You are doing nothing wrong. Dating is all about playing the numbers, and right now you are just hitting a streak of bad luck. You need to keep plugging along and meet as many men as possible. That way, you will increase your odds of meeting the right person. I once went through the same kind of streak and it took a lot not to get frustrated with the results, but I kept plugging along and one day it all reversed and I had a great selection of women who all wanted to date me. Be patient. Your time is right around the corner.

The Insightful Dater answers: It’s important to remember that everyone is on their own path and that timing is a key factor. If you’re dating online, you are coming into contact with a larger number of prospective dates than if you just went out to a bar and tried to connect with a few people. Given that, you may run across more people who are in difficult situations in life (resolving old relationship issues, getting over an old flame, etc.). The great thing is there are a lot of fish in the sea, and dating online helps you screen people before you invest much time with someone. So keep up the emails and calls, and be honest about where you are at. Hopefully your timing will be in sync with someone else’s and you’ll make a solid match.

Let the games end

I’ve gone out with this guy a few times and like him, however he never calls me during the week, only a brief email to confirm our plan for the one time a week, so far, that we have seen each other. The response email I receive is usually two days after I answered his. The last time we went out I even requested that he call me to confirm, which he didn’t do. I had to call him to confirm. Only then did he finally call. Am I over-thinking this or is he really not interested? Or, maybe he’s playing a game. – Rhonda, Los Angeles

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: Yes, you’re over-thinking. He’s probably just comfortable in this pattern you’ve allowed to happen and he sees no reason to change it. He’s probably not thinking about it much at all. Why don’t you try asking him out for a change? You’re not complete strangers any more. Find something, perhaps something your friends are doing, (like going to the beach? A barbecue? A bike ride? A movie?) and invite him along. It will break the pattern. Perhaps it will give him some different ideas. If he turns you down, try it one more time, in case he was legitimately busy. If he turns you down a second time, consider whether you want a dating relationship that’s just once a week. If not, start looking for someone else. Don’t get too attached until you understand what he’s doing.

David Wygant answers: Ah, the fun of dating in Los Angeles. I spent five years in LA and know all about the games people play in that town.

You sound like a great girl who needs and deserves a man who respects you. By playing into his game you are losing your respect for yourself. You are making it too easy for him and he feels that no matter what he does he can always count on getting together with you.

The next time he does not confirm the date, make other plans. Then, at his convenience, when he finally gets around to replying to you he’ll learn a valuable lesson from a game called, “he needs to respect you and your needs.” Whatever else you do, stand your ground.

The Insightful Dater answers: If you’ve clarified how you best communicate (phone, IM, email) and he’s not responsive or respectful, then yes, it may very well be his interest level that is the issue. Why not say you are getting mixed messages and ask what he’s thinking? If this guy isn’t really “there” for basic concerns like communications logistics, what have you got here?