PEN PAL OR DATE?
DR. GILDA CARLE
Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine
“Enough with the emails, already!! Get off the proverbial pot and ask me out!!”
Dear Dr. Gilda,
I recently started online dating after my 20-year marriage ended. I’ve corresponded with and met many men, but none that could hold my interest — until a month ago, when this fellow responded to my profile and we’ve been emailing since.
I am very interested in meeting this man, but he has not asked me out yet. I think it is very unusual not to meet after a month of corresponding. He’s 50, has never been married, has had three live-in arrangements in 26 years, and recently came out of a relationship. His profile stated that he is looking for an independent woman, a friend to meet occasionally because of a very busy schedule, and that he values “personal space.” He has hidden his profile since we’ve started chatting. We have had a fabulous email exchange and he sent me pictures. I’ve questioned whether he’s ready for a relationship, and he admitted to wanting some time off for now. He said he assumes we’ll meet sometime when “time allows.”
I feel that because he has not asked to meet that he’s just not interested, but why does he even bother to still correspond? Is he still working out some of his issues, or am I living on another planet? I would like the chance to know him better. He answers my personal questions honestly, I think, but I don’t want to push the issue. Besides, I think we should begin slowly as friends. I want to give him space and time, but I don’t want to be a fool either. How much time should I allow before asking that we meet?
Need Some Answers
Dear Need Some Answers,
On screen, it’s easy for a writer to say anything and for a reader to believe she is receiving honest responses. But only over time and through face-to-face interaction will a person discover the truth.
It seems this guy has issues with permanent commitment. Although he’s lived with three women over 26 years, he never “sealed the deal” in matrimony. Is this the reason he “holds your interest?” As my Gilda-Gram says, “People like people like themselves.” If you are reaching out to a “distancer,” it’s probable that you want someone who is not emotionally available due to your own “suddenly single” status and the period of transition you are going through as you adjust to your new life. This is typical behavior for someone recently out of a marriage. Yet, while you may prefer somewhat evasive behavior in a date at this time, you also worry that “he’s just not interested” — it’s also typical to emerge from a lengthy marriage with insecurities like this.
Know that your rational mind is assessing this guy just as he is: not ready for a relationship at this time. He out-and-out told you he wants some time off. Don’t take it personally. You’re doing that female thing that psychoanalyzes a guy as possibly still working out his issues. When you’re dating, it’s important to remember that what you see is what you get.
This guy may be adept at meaningful modem chatter, but he’s not ready to take his e-notes live. He implied that, he told you that, and his history suggests he may never be ready. For now, let it — and him — go! I agree that after enough back-and-forth writing, the next steps are to speak on the phone and then meet. In fact, when a person is interested, he will push for a meeting. Since this man is perfectly content to be your pen pal, you can tell him that you’d like to get to know him better by meeting him. Say that when his schedule does allow, he should let you know. In the meantime, as far as this dude is concerned, your favorite four-letter word should now be, “Next!”
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is the internationally known Relationship Expert to the Stars. She is Match.com’s “ASK DR. GILDA” advice columnist. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.” She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. DR. GILDA is the Love Doc advisor for the off-Broadway show, “Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage!” She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit www.DrGilda.com and get her Instant Advice!