Friday, March 28, 2008

He's the Touching Kind, Not the Marrying Kind

Hi, Terry-

Many people have advised never to ask where I stand with a guy, but I saw this particular man for 5 months. Then he broke it off because he can't see a future between us (his father and family would not approve of him marrying a woman from a different race). I stayed out of his way, and he stayed away for a while.

Then he came back.

Once he did, he repeatedly invited me for coffee.

Now he touches me unnecessarily and uses terms of endearment. He asked to come over to my house, saying he needed to borrow some items for work. I agreed, and soon after he arrived, he was all over me. I asked him what had caused this change in him, and he said nothing had changed.

He said he enjoys my company and having a laugh. I told him to get his hands off me, which he did, but after he left, he started calling me repeatedly. I ignored him for a while, but I missed him.

My friends say I should clarify with him about where I stand, but this seems to conflict with your advice not to ask a man about this. Do you think he's a player? He seems very confused about life in general.

What do you think?

-Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear Should-

Every time I read your letter, I get a little madder. The guy you describe is flat-out ridiculous.

As for the advice not to ask where you stand, my feeling is a woman should always know where she stands. A man should be communicating this in a straightforward, honest fashion. If he does not, she should assume he is not worth her time.

Communication is a two-way street. It's not one person lying awake at night wondering what the other person meant when they said this and meant when they did that.

The man you describe is hardly being straightforward (touching you after telling you his father will not agree to a relationship with you, for example). He is not considering anybody else's feelings but his own. Take a step back and look at him objectively. His behavior is sad and unattractive.

(The father excuse is a cop-out of the most pathetic order, by the way.)

The fact that he acted hurt when you accused him of being a player is beyond annoying. I don't know if he's a player, but I certainly think you can do better than a man who is "all over you" but tells you he can't have a relationship because you come from a different race. (Forgive me; I'm repeating myself, but I still can't get past this nonsense.)

Clearly, you're attracted to this man, or you wouldn't have written. One way to kill attraction is to write down a list of things you don't like about him (making lame excuses about his inability to become involved with you can be Item #1, and his confusion about life can be Item #2).

Whip out this list and read it whenever you're tempted to think, "this guy really likes me, but he doesn't want to risk offending his family."

Please stay away from him. You don't owe him a single explanation. If you must, tell him, "I'm not getting involved with a man who can't stand up to his family." Or if that's too much, tell him, "Sorry, I can't get involved with a guy who doesn't know a good thing when he sees it."

The next time he says he wants a cup of coffee, give him directions to Starbucks. If he asks to borrow any of your belongings for work, tell him to try an office supply store.