Dear Dallas Single Mom: “I am pretty new back in the single and dating scene (about 8 months, I think). I am have mixed feeling about this, but that’s another discussion altogether. I have never been a serial dater, and, in fact, not much of a dater at all unless I liked someone and then there was no one else. Anyway, it seems to me that the nicer you treat someone: go out of your way, try to make feel special, make time for, etc., the faster that relationship ends. It’s like the challenge is not there so they move on to someone more challenging. On the flip side, if you’re not really into someone, they are the ones that never want to go away (I assure you, I sound much more callous than I truly am)!
For instance, I started to see a girl that I met on-line this last summer. At first, I did not think it would work out but as it turned out, our personalities matched well and we laughed and had a lot of fun together and I found myself really liking her. I bought her a couple of little gifts while on a business trip that I knew she would appreciate and we texted almost daily. The next thing I knew, I get a text (about 3 weeks total time) that ‘this is moving too quickly for her comfort’ and I never heard from her again. I feel like if I would have just ‘checked in from time to time and let’s get some dinner or whatever’ attitude would have yielded a different outcome. I have personally witnessed both sides of this coin.
So where do you draw the line? At what point does kindness get mistaken for weakness? You mentioned (in your 10/31 blog) that you should date someone who is willing to go out of their way for you (clearly not verbatim but the generality of your discussion). This I understand and completely agree with. However, if a guy does that too soon, do you just move on to a bigger challenge? Or do I just commit too soon…?
The is not the rant I had planned on when I started typing….haha. But don’t get me started about women who say stuff like, “I just want a nice guy that truly appreciates me and makes me laugh and not some douche like the rest of the guys I date….” – McKinney Single Dad
Dear McKinney Single Dad,
Congratulations! You may be unaware of this but you just received a gift. When she told you that “things were moving too quickly for her comfort” and cut off communication she did you a favor – she stopped wasting your time. It seems that this woman was just not that into you and rather than let you continue giving her gifts and leading you on, she did the mature thing and ended it. You could not have done anything different such as text less or text more, for whatever reason she just wasn’t ready. A friend of mine from Brazil, quoted this saying in Portuguese that says, “Cuide de seu Jardim que as borboletas virão” – Take care of your garden and the butterflies will come. You have been single for just 8 months and you have not had a chance to really explore yourself and develop your personal “gifts” (those things that bring you confidence, independence and happiness) that you can contribute to and define in your ideal relationship. A relationship does NOT define you but you define the relationship. Both parties enhance each other. So to answer your many questions:
So where do you draw the line? At what point does kindness get mistaken for weakness?
You don’t draw a line. It’s more of a moving seashore that ebbs and flows based upon the boundaries of the two people involved. Your willingness to work with and accept the lessons of your experience will make this whole process easier for you. Be clear about your boundaries so you never have to worry about whether you are being weak. Determine whether you are being sincere in your actions or are you trying to get the other person to behave, act or be a certain way. Everyone’s definition of kindness is different and kindness is never a weakness. In the book, the Five Love Languages, your primary love language sounds like gift giving. However, since you are only dating to quickly move into “partner” or “husband” mode so soon scares women off. Your love IS a coveted gift – – one that requires time to be earned and a willingness on your part to observe, educate yourself and just enjoy the moment. The same goes for women – when they quickly move into wife or partner mode it can scare a man as well. Women are assessing a man up front on whether he has long term potential and so being very eager to please or self deprecating creates a codependent relationship – one in which the other party takes on the responsibility of defining you. I don’t think you really want that now do you?
You mentioned (in your 10/31 blog) that you should date someone who is willing to go out of their way for you (clearly not verbatim but the generality of your discussion). This I understand and completely agree with. However, if a guy does that too soon, do you just move on to a bigger challenge? Or do I just commit too soon…?
Yes you should date someone who is willing to go out of their way for you by way of demonstrating appreciation of you, consideration and just general thoughtfulness.
You don’t need gifts and constant texting and engagement to show appreciation for someone. In our busy lives, as single parents, just creating time for someone is showing appreciation along with respecting someone’s time. I never waste my time and energy talking to someone that I’m only “lukewarm” about. I read an article called the “fuck yes or no” theory by Mark Manson. We waste too much time trying to analyze the behavior of people who are really not that into us.
Lastly, try not to make too many assumptions about women or people in general. Women (and men) say a lot of things and will behave or act in an entirely different manner. Us women say a lot of crazy things and so do men. Any woman that says, “I just want a nice guy that truly appreciates me and makes me laugh and not some douche like the rest of the guys I date” is a red flag. Anyone that is willing to tolerate a douche long enough to find out he is a douche doesn’t have clear boundaries. Douchebags, like psychopaths are fantastic in bed and getting intimate too soon can make sound logical judgment difficult. The true measure of success is a person’s ability to delay gratification.
Let me know if you have anymore questions
PS – Another book I like is called Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Even if you are single this is an important book to read so that you can understand yourself and how you relate to others. Men are motivated by respect while women are motivated by love. The book teaches you how to manage conflict and deal with negative reactions. Just another tool to strengthen your personal resources. ;-)
I forgot to mention – always leave someone better than you found them. For your sake and for theirs. That is your imprint and your legacy. The kindness in your desire to see them grow and be happy with or without you.