Question: About year ago, I met a man I am very much attracted to. We hit it off right from the beginning. We were calling each other two to five times a day, seeing each other almost every other day and then suddenly things stalled. I’ve been doing most of the calling and arranging our time together, finally I told him I needed him to be the man in the relationship and pursue me if the relationship was to go forward. He said he understood, but he’s always been kind of slow guy in the relationship. He said he wants to be more involved but feels that something is holding him back and he is not sure why.
We talked and I thought everything was okay between us. When I didn’t hear from him for three days, I called him. This time he said he feels that he can not give me the attention I need. He also said he has a lot going on and is not sure if this is a good time for him to be in a relationship. I haven’t heard from him since. It’s just over a week now. Do you think I should contact him to find out if what you said may have hurt him in anyway and ask him what I can do to make things right between us again?
Answer: I think that it’s not just a mistake but emasculating to tell a man that he is not acting like “a man”. It’s almost the same as telling a woman “you’re ugly”. That may be how you feel but telling him just like that is a big blow to his confidence — and those words can stay with him for a lifetime.
On the other hand, I can understand why you felt the need to tell a guy you’re seeing that you want to be pursued. In my experience working with so many women, the reason you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you are the one always doing the pursuing is because you think/feel that if you do not “do something, anything” to keep a guy’s interest up, you’ll lose him. People who need to “do something, anything” to keep the other person in their lives are insecure. They somehow believe that if they “do something, anything” they can make things happen the way they want them to happen. This need to “control” things is what makes them push harder. The more they push the more the other person feels like they are literally being held by the neck, and want to break away.
The other mistake you may be making — which in my opinion is closely tied to your need to “do something, anything” to keep a man’s interest is not paying close attention/listening to what he is saying to you. You may have been so wrapped up in “feel good” emotions of the initial stages of the relationship that you did not pay much attention to the “person” and what he was saying to you.
Why do I think so? Because you’re asking me if I think you should contact him to find out if what you said may have hurt him in anyway. That says to me, you really haven’t listened to what he is saying to you.
Let’s look carefully at the last things he said to you:
1. He said he understood, but he’s always been kind of slow guy in the relationship. Translation: This is going too fast for me. For this to ever go forward, I need you to stop pushing it.
2. He said that he feels he can not give me the attention I need. Translation: I can’t be your sole source of happiness/attention. You need to get a life besides me.
3. He said he wants to be more involved but feels that something is holding him back and he is not sure why. Translation: I am not sure about my feelings for you. I need a little more time to really get in touch with how I feel about this relationship.
4. He also said he has a lot going on and is not sure if this is a good time for him to be in a relationship. Translation: I have a lot to deal with in my life right now. A relationship is not top on my priority list.
If you’d really listened to all these, you’d have heard that what he wants from you is not “more” but less. Contacting him just to find out if what you said may have hurt him is asking him to explain his actions and talk about how he feels. This may ease the uncomfortable feeling of abandonment/rejection you feel, but it adds more to the reasons why he feels “this is too much, I need some breathing space”.
If you want to make things between you right again, them restore the give and take balance back to a healthy 50/50 or even 60/40. To begin, wait until he contacts you, and when he does, tell him you recognize that you can’t just keep pushing and pushing to a point where you’re doing all the work including pursuing him, then turn around and complain that he is not doing his part. Then tell him that instead of complaining, you’re going to listen better to what he is telling you.
Then build on this. Give him time and space to be himself without you coaching him on what a man needs to do. Most importantly, listen!