Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why Did He Back Off?

Dear Terry-

There is this dude who I've known for about 3-5 years now. He's really sociable. We met through friends. Eventually, if we saw each other out and about, we'd strike up a conversation.

Within the last year, we started speaking on Facebook. Then we exchanged numbers, but still strictly as friends until only in the last three months have we started talking regularly.

At first there was a question about his intentions. . . being the sociable guy that he is I had to specifically ask him was he interested in me or just being friendly. I should have known because we were talking all day sometimes (like 6 hours at a time when neither one of us had to work), and we spoke every day as well.

Well, over the last three days, he has seemed distant to me, and I ignored it at first because he travels for work and had been out of town for a few days, he attended a funeral the previous week, and he might have wanted or spend time with his family for Easter.

But then I decided I couldn't ignore it: We weren't even connecting on the phone as we had been doing all along, and I felt the difference immediately after he'd told me I was being lazy for procrastinating on some work I had to do.

I was very offended because he did kind of pull my card. My procrastination is an issue that I deal with but at the same time, I am doing okay for myself. ( I'll be 26 in a month. Am student teaching as one of the final phases of a master degree I'm working on. I freelance as a fashion stylist in my spare time.)

I might just be on the offense but earlier today he made a comment about "Why do you have to wear makeup? Why don't you just go natural?" when I jokingly said, "I'm putting my face on," as I was on the phone with him and getting ready to go to the store.

He said it in a tone of disgust though so coupled with the comment about me being lazy - I'm thinking he's forming reasons not to be into me anymore ( too analytical?)

Back to the lazy comment: It really hurt because I know this is one of the traits that he hates in people. He loves a goal-oriented woman, and this is one of the things he once gave me props on.

He himself is really focused on moving from the city and finding a good job out of state. Although I know it will probably be over once he leaves, I've been willing to follow my emotions because I haven't allowed myself to open up to anyone in so long, and since he slipped in as a friend it has been easier, the communication WAS free-er and it feels/felt good!

Also I was encouraged by a text he sent that said, "Don't say that. When and if I do leave doesn't mean you have to leave my life. I hope we don't stop." So here I am thinking we're on the same page -- as my friend he learned all about the kind of stuff I'd been through in relationships and vise versa. He even said to me something along the lines of, "I don't understand, you're a beautiful girl. You're smart. You seem cool, and easy to get along with, etc. . etc. " Just giving me all kinds of praise to the point where I had to ask him was he interested in me as more than a friend.

Today I finally said something about the distance I felt forming between us, and he kind of snapped (though he might say he didn't because I've told him to check his volume before - and I'm still learning the difference between him just getting excited on a subject, and getting like abrasive). First thing he says "man, i hate when ppl say that . . . so what are you saying, you wanna see me everyday. is that what you're saying" As a result, I feel like, this has been an issue before, and it isn't just me. He was taking something out on me from someone else he dated, and most important, we must not be on the same page far as what we want because i'm not unreasonable.

I'm fine with not seeing someone everyday - duh - but at the same time, if I like being around you and you've told me you like my company too, then why wouldn't my natural desire be to want to see you daily? Even if I am okay, and not going to trip about it if we don't.

My problem, that I can't seem to explain to him (verbal communication is hard for me) is not with not seeing him but that I'm not feeling the connection that I felt just a few days ago when he first got back in town.

I don't know if I've come on too strong and he is taking a step back and I should let it fade out and move on ( I did meet someone today when I forced myself to get out the house -- bought some paper clips, and file folders at the store) OR is there something I should or can say to him?

Thank you for your time. This got a lot longer than I expected it to.

-Too Lazy for Love?

Dear You're Not Lazy-

Please do me a favor and re-read your letter (I edited the first couple of paragraphs, but you still get the drift).

Here's a guy who kept you on the phone for six hours on his days off, and then blanched when he got the notion you'd be interested in seeing more of him in person.

You're finishing your Master's Degree, and you freelance as a fashion stylist. And this guy calls you lazy. And you wonder if you measure up to his expectations for a goal-oriented woman. Give me a break.

And then he makes a snide comment about your makeup. (First you're a "beautiful girl," and now you wear too much makeup). What is he going to comment about next? Your hair? Your weight?

It seems to me that this guy spends so much time on the phone and Facebook because he's got a problem. No woman is ever going to meet his expectations because he probably can't even meet his expectations for himself. (When he called you lazy was he really talking about you? Or about himself? Because he spends an awful amount of time on the phone to qualify as Action Jackson).

But enough about him.

I'm no psychologist, but several things concern me:

- You are utterly wrapped up in what this very critical guy thinks.

- You worried if he was being friendly, or if he was truly interested in you. You shouldn't have had to wonder. He's a big boy and should be able to clearly communicate his intentions. (If a guy isn't clear about his intentions, back away until he gets with the program.)

-You say you have trouble communicating yourself. I'm not getting a sense of this from your letter, but if you say so, I'll believe you. If this is truly the case, practice expressing your feelings. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Expect the same from other people.

You asked whether you should move on. Yes, by all means, do. Stay out there, keep meeting people, keep developing your communication skills, learn to expect better communication from the men you go out with. Expect encouragment from them, instead of sniping.

Since I was not in the room when this guy made the comments about you being lazy and wearing too much makeup, it's possible he was joking around. But it doesn't explain the "Man, I hate it when people say that..." comment.

It's a bit ridiculous for him to expect you to invest six hours of your day talking to him on the phone, and then he can't even get off his rump to meet you somewhere and look you in the eye for a couple of hours.

The majority of a relationship should be spend face-to-face, not online or on the phone (if you're in the same area; when you're not, both parties should make an effort to see one another whenever possible).

Oh, yes: He is moving out of state (or so he says). I don't care what he said about keeping you in his life, it's entirely possible you deserve much more than to be there. So keep your options open. If he calls you again, set an egg timer. After five minutes, give him the heave-ho.