Friday, August 15, 2008

Is This Guy for Real?

Dear Terry:

I've been seeing a 33-year-old man who has a demanding job on Wall Street. He's everything I ever wanted. He's tall and handsome, confident, makes a lot of money, makes me laugh, and says he is so attracted to me. (He says this a lot. Sometimes he says he can't believe how attracted he is to me.)

As for me, he's like my kryptonite. I lay eyes on him and go weak at the knees.

Once or twice a week when he isn't traveling (he travels for his job several times a month), he comes to my apartment for dinner. Says I'm a great cook, which thrills me to no end. I can put together a gourmet meal out of scraps from the refrigerator.

The problem is, we always spend time at my place. Even though he lives near me, I have never, ever been invited to his. Once, while I was cleaning up after dinner, I made a joke to see if he'd invite me to his house or at least indicate why I haven't been there.

(Just so you know: He is NOT married. I went to school with his sisters.)

He changed the subject immediately. A day or two later, he came back and asked me to accompany him on a business trip to Cincinnati. It sounded all very romantic, until I got there and found myself spending most of the day by myself (I walked around and discovered that Cincinnati is full of the same chain stores selling the same junk as the stores in New York. Oh, boy!)

Nights were spent waiting for him to get back from dinner with someone or other. I went out for Chinese by myself one night. I ordered room service the next and hung around all night in this little box of a room fiddling with a TV remote (that was tethered to the wall), only to end up watching Sex & the City reruns I've already seen 16 times.

I came close to crying, but I stopped myself. I didn't want to be a baby about it. After all, the guy was on a business trip and had to work.

Would like your perspective on this, Terry. I am crazy about this guy. I want to marry him. He seems crazy about me, but the thing that bothers me most is that he won't let me in his house.

Do you think I'm overreacting?

-On the Doorstep

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Dear Doorstep-

Overreacting? Not exactly.

I think a better question would be, "Why do you automatically assume you're overreacting when you're frustrated that your boyfriend won't let you near his house?"

If a man is in good emotional health and is truly interested in you, he tends to want you to see where he lives. Unless, of course, it's infested with killer bees.

Okay, he's handsome and works on Wall Street. I get the attraction. But how great is his job? Why does his company put him up in hotels that chain remote controls to the wall, for instance?

In my experience companies tend to put employees in hotels that cater to business travelers, not in $99/night family specials.

Something's not quite right here.

Now, about your cooking. Does this man ever take you out to dinner? If you're providing all the meals, he's taking advantage of you. Also, the adage "The way to a man's heart is through is stomach" is not always true.

Sometimes you just get a guy who wants a free meal and somebody to listen to his problems.

This bit in your letter really got me: "Once, while I was cleaning up after dinner..."

Forgive me while I go "all Terry" on you, but if you cook for the man, the least he can do is clean up, as in lift dish, bring to sink, turn on faucet, wash, rinse, dry, put away.

You cook. He cleans. He cooks. You clean.

A relationship is give and take, and I don't see this man doing anything other than taking. I wish I had the magic words to make you forget about him.

So far, you've provided everything for him, and he's doing precious little for you. He took you on a trip his company paid for. He won't let you into his house.

You deserve better than this.

The next time he calls, tell him you're busy but can meet him somewhere for an hour. Suggest a restaurant. See what he says. If he gives you a hard time, get rid of him.

If he meets you for the meal, let him pay, thank him and say goodnight (keep it to an hour; don't let all wobbly and take him back to your house).

Then, the next time he calls, tell him you'll meet him at HIS house.

If he gives you a hard time, tell him you've developed serious reservations about getting any more involved with a person who doesn't want you in his living space.

After all, this is your life we're talking about.

-Terry