Written for Soulmatch

Dating Q&A #2:

A Dating Dilemma: “All I Heard From Him Was Excuse After Excuse.”

I have been seeing a guy for a couple of weeks. He never wants to talk to me during the week and he only wants to get together when it’s convenient for him, so I stopped calling him and I quit going where I might see him. Last Saturday night, I went out with a friend and I saw the guy. I ignored him at first, but he called me over to chat with him. All I heard from him was excuse after excuse. His friend told me I am being too pushy and scaring him but the guy assured me this wasn’t the case. After all this, the guy stayed the night with me and ended up avoiding me again this week. Am I doing something wrong in this situation? What should I do? – Vexed, Pittsburg, Kan.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: What you’re doing in this situation is not asking for respect. Did you notice that you got attention from this guy when you played it cool? But then you allowed him to stay the night, he got what he wanted, and you didn’t. You need to learn to set boundaries, consider what you want from a relationship, and not accept any less. Don’t respond to him unless he treats you the way a woman deserves to be treated. Excuses don’t cut it – sleeping with you without acknowledging that you have a relationship also doesn’t cut it. If you want to be loved, then don’t respond to treatment that isn’t loving. Use the “tennis match approach” – if he calls you, and is contrite and respectful, respond favorably the first time. Then wait for the next signal. Don’t pursue him, it shows a lack of self-respect on your part. If he doesn’t pay you enough attention, find someone else.

David Wygant answers: You need to stand your ground with him. (His “friend” says you’re pushy, but you are the one being called over to listen to excuses!) Your guy may have some great qualities, however to me he sounds like a boy who only likes the “chase.” As soon as he has your attention, he ignores you and puts you on mute like a remote control.

If you really want to give him a shot, you should start by telling him you deserve a guy who respects you and wants to be with you. – It isn’t a good sign that you have only been seeing him for a few weeks and he’s already making excuses! I hate to say it, but this is not the type of guy you want to have a real relationship with. Anyone who has the audacity to spend the night with you, then avoid you is not worth your time.

Lay down some ground rules and tell him exactly what you want from a relationship. That will either wake him up, or, better yet, eliminate this man (boy) from your life.

There’s a big difference between being “pushy” and being strong!

The Insightful Dater answers: Whoa! There’s one main theme here that you should reflect on, my fellow dater, and that is where your focus seems to remain throughout. As hard as it may be when we seek acceptance and affection from the object of our desires, remember, as Shakespeare wrote, “to thine own self be true.” It’s hard to be true to what it is you want and need if all you are thinking about is how he is feeling, reacting, being, etc. (that’s so exhausting!). What do you want out of this relationship? To be serious, casual, “just friends?” First figure that out and then see if he even fits that bill. If he does, tell him your terms…and in the meantime, try not to assume you know what he’s thinking. If you’re like most women and you have a killer inner-critic, it can be murder on the ego to project what you think is going on for him.