Why Don’t Relationships Work Out?
How do you add up all the mixed messages, contradictions, and behavior that lead you to realize you’re not special to a man? It’s not easy, especially at the beginning of a relationship, and especially if you haven’t been dating in ten years.
I’m all for asking the hard questions, the questions that you’re afraid to ask. But ask them you must, if you don’t intend to be misled. The funny part is you’re usually the one misleading yourself. And not asking the hard stuff means you’ll probably get hurt later on, whereas if you ask early-on, you’ll save yourself anguish and maybe even heartbreak.
It’s not that men are jerks; it’s just that they tend to think of themselves and what’s good for them. It’s all about them.
When you think about it, that’s pretty normal for us all.
What information do you collect along the way to make a decision about someone? Here’s my take on what started out great and why I stopped.
We’ve Got Chemistry
His name was Harry and we’d been e-mailing for a month. He told me my emails were like little treasures he looked forward to opening. Our first meet promised to be great because of our e-mail conversational chemistry and then our phone chemistry.
He’d set a tone of respect and flattery mixed with an awe of me (because I had a higher education, more job experience perhaps). Let’s face it, this guy was a charmer. At one point, I had to tone it down. “It’s a little much for me, don’t lay it on that thick,” I told him in e-mail as the weeks went by, the compliments multiplied.
For our highly anticipated meet, he drove to my area and insisted on taking me to dinner, a full, proper dinner, no cup of coffee low-key deal. And with a month of priming behind me, I was prepared to be attracted when we met.
The sparks were flying, and he was as accommodating in person as he was in email and on the phone.
He was outside the place, waiting for me on a beautiful summer night, a real meet and greet, so much nicer than searching around for the guy. He was six years younger (personally I thought he looked close to my age). He smiled and told me that he planned on treating and it would be a privilege to have dinner with such a classy woman. Yeah, he laid it on with a trowel and I loved it. There wasn’t an awkward moment the whole evening.
After dinner he presented me with a box of chocolates. A charming gesture. Our first date lasted four hours.
A Romantic Guy
When I got home there was an email waiting for me, telling me how much he enjoyed the evening and that he wanted to see me again. For the next few weeks, his emails continued in a steady stream of flattering comments designed to ingratiate himself right straight into my heart. It worked, sort of. It was so nice to have someone make you feel so desirable. Isn’t this what we all want?
I began to wonder how much of this was an act, and how much was for real. It was hard to tell. He wasn’t the smooth type, and I felt it came from his heart, but it was too much, too quick. I could not really return the feelings. He was a very nice man, kind and generous and interested in me, but he had some unusual habits due to his work as a traveling radiology technologist.
He rented a furnished apartment and was about to move. A man in his mid 50’s living in a furnished apartment is a bit below the standard I want or find attractive. His student days should be over, and he should take pride in owning something nice. He should be able to afford it by now, given he had no children, a decent job and lived so modestly. What the heck did he spend his money on? Was this a red flag?
He was kind and considerate, but I also began noticing that the things he said he liked to do in his profile were not materializing in real life. For example, he kept talking about running with me, and claimed to be “warming up” on his apartment treadmill, but I never did get him out. He also showed little interest in one of the swing dances I wanted to go to, despite saying he liked to dance the night away on his profile.
His main interest seemed to be spending time with me, and he was finding reasons for me to come over to his place, so we could be together. He wanted to show me his “new place,” and in my mind I couldn’t help but think what’s to show? The new place didn’t sound much different from his old apartment.
Laughably, his main interest seemed to be spending time with me.
I knew his real motive, and it began to be a turn off. Although I was attracted to him, and he to me, I wanted more. I wanted someone I could do things with, share experiences, someone who had goals in life.
Then one evening in the middle of talking about my long term relationship, the one that had recently ended, I noticed a change in his expression. It was weird, but one moment we were OK and the next he was telling me about his former girlfriend. Only she didn’t seem so former because she was planning on visiting him in two weeks.
And that was it. I couldn’t be with a man who couldn’t be straight with me, and I was upfront about not wanting to see him again.
Six Months Later
I’ve moved on from Henry. These days, I value actions over pretty words.