Do Men Always Have to be the Pursuers?

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Ask A Woman: Diagnosis: exhaustion from chasing women.

You're hovering a bit there bucko.

If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: askawoman@dappered.com .

 

Hello Beth,

I’d first like to say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your column ever since I discovered it. I could really use a woman’s perspective on this problem I’ve been having. When it comes to dating, how much of the initiation should be the woman’s responsibility? Here’s what I mean…

I became interested in a particular woman and over the course of about six weeks we communicated regularly and went on a couple dates together. I thought we had a lot in common and things were going well. Then it suddenly occurred to me one day that I was the one coming up with all the date ideas. More importantly, I was always the one who initiated communication. I always called or texted her first even if it was just to see how she was doing that particular day.

After some thought, I decided that if I was going to be in a serious relationship with someone, I should feel as if she’s putting the same amount of effort into it as I am. I decided to wait a couple days longer than I normally did to make contact, just to see if she would initiate. Much to my dismay she did not, and … that was it. Also, in the 3 years that I’ve been single, this has happened numerous times with the same plotline.

Is it too much to ask that a woman call me once in a while, even if it’s just to say hello or ask me how my day was? Is it simply a case of bad luck and a string of girls who “just aren’t that into me?” Or is my quest for equality doomed to fail?

- Jason

 

Hi Jason,

First, I totally agree with you that no relationship should be one-sided. Both parties need to be equally invested in order for it to work. It’s only fair, and it’s how mature relationships work. Truth be told, I have no idea why this keeps happening to you. A lot of times when guys write in, something about the way they word an email or describe a situation gives me a hint about what they may be leaving unsaid that is critical to understanding what’s going on with them. But your email isn’t giving me that vibe. I’m going to throw two possibilities at you (though there could be others), and you decide which one sounds most likely to you.

She’s just not that into you. It’s quite possible that you just haven’t met the right woman yet. Three years may feel like a long time to you, but the time it takes people to find their match varies so widely, it’s not worth comparing yourself to anyone else. Keep dating, keep your chin up, you’ll find someone eventually. One point I’d like to make here, though, is that if this continues to happen to you–you think things are going well but if you leave it be, the woman never calls you back–you may not be reading these women accurately in the moment. Does she keep consistent eye contact with you while you’re talking (showing she’s not bored)? Does she ask follow-up questions to things you’ve said in conversation (showing she’s interested in your life)? If you suggest activities that would increase the length of the date (i.e., after a movie, “hey, do you want to get a nightcap?”), is she receptive (showing she wants to spend more time with you)? These women may be giving you all kinds of non-verbal cues that they’re not into you, but if you’re not perceptive, or good at reading body language, you’re going to miss it.

Incidentally, if they aren’t, in fact, into you, they shouldn’t string you along as they’ve been doing. That’s poor form. They should tell you upfront, this isn’t working for me, so that both of you can move on.

Why, why, why?

You’re dating a “Rules” girl. Oh dear. If you’re a long-time reader, you know I think all this crap about “The Rules” that some women follow is just that–crap. In a nutshell, this philosophy is based on the idea the men love to chase women and are more interested in women who ignore them, treat them with indifference, and require a five day notice before committing to a date. Men should do all the pursuing and women should sit back and be pursued. Why didn’t the authors of that book just call it “How to be a High Maintenance Broad”?

Here’s what’s wrong with this theory: 1) there are plenty of good, decent men who don’t want to be treated with indifference and will simply give up pursuing a hard-to-get woman because she’s…hard-to-get. Case in point: Jason! He gave up! 2) some of the men who DO love a chase aren’t going to stop loving a chase once they snag a “Rules” woman. You see where this is going? 3) it’s not sustainable. As the woman, are you supposed to continue to be aloof to your boyfriend, fiance, husband, father of your children? Is the man supposed to chase you until your 50th wedding anniversary? Surely his knees will give out before then. There are about twenty other reasons this approach doesn’t work, but we don’t have time for me to lay out my rebuttal book, “The Rules are Bull$#*&: Let’s Act Like Adults,” here in this space.

It’s certainly possible you’re picking women who believe they should be pursued by you while they do nothing (incidentally, some women come to this conclusion without ever having heard of “The Rules” philosophy). If that’s the case, then you do have some responsibility here–you keep picking the same type of woman, and it’s already clear that you don’t want this type of woman so it’s time to break the cycle. Think about how these women were similar, think about what the “warning signs” were that might have clued you in to their style of dating.

Finally, Jason, if you’re still really stumped about what’s going on in your dating life, and especially if this continues to happen, why not shoot some of these gals an email and ask? What do you have to lose? Keep it light, don’t be accusatory, just say you’re trying to figure out what went wrong. Some of them will probably ignore you, but hopefully you’ll get a few honest answers that will shed some light on what’s going on.

-Beth

Got a question for Beth? Send it to: askawoman@dappered.com