Monday, September 21, 2009

He Said He Might Marry Her. Then He Disappeared

Hi Terry,

I've been trying to figure out how to post a question on your blog, but being completely clueless when it comes to blogs, I have no choice but to leave my post as a comment on this one... I hope that's ok?

I am a 34 year old woman (girl?) living in Mumbai, India. After a brief but very painful marriage I found myself building life from ground zero. I've no complaints about my life; it's seriously super. I have a successful business built from scratch, great friends, 3 adorable dogs and as many books as I can read.

But, I've essentially been single since my marriage ended 6 years ago. I'm physically very attractive (credited to good genes), funny, intelligent and an all-round good catch, or so my friends tell me.

I've interacted with a few guys over the years, but nothing really amounted to much. This is mostly in part to my being too needy and clingy around hem, and they being just not worth it.

Now, I've met this perfect man a few days ago. By perfect I mean perfect for ME.

We met, and sat and chatted (and a bit more) till 6:30 am... the next day he called when he said he would, made plans to see my that evening because I was supposed to leave for a holiday the next day.

The holiday didn't happen. But what did is that he talked about how he had given up on meeting someone he wanted to be with, and he had finally met that person (me). He didn't need to look any further now, and really wanted to get to know me, to be with me. Whether that would mean marriage would only be discerned after spending more time together, but he wanted me to know that was committed to at least exploring that option.

Whew! This man has been what I've been looking for in many ways, older than me, well-settled, successful in his own right, sorted in his head, very committed to his sons, fun, well-travelled, well-read... etc etc.

We were to go out Wednesday night with his friends, but he cancelled claiming exhaustion, seeing as both of us had been up for two nights and had been working through the day. We signed off with him saying he'll call me the next day...

It's been two days since then, and there's been no call.

I'm completely thrown by this, as most of the good stuff being said came from him, with no prompting from me. I did talk to him about not being interested in a fling, or being his bit on the side, and he said he understood.

In fact, when I told him that I wasn't leaving for Thailand till next week, he even suggested trying to work things at his end so he could come with me on holiday!

And that's followed by this complete silence. I feel like it's almost a test of some sort, to see if I freak out and get manic and call him 10 times, or then he needs space to think things, maybe he feels he's said too much.

I dont know!

I don't want to call him or text him... I just feel like that wouldn't be a good move... Call it instinct.

What would you say? I'd love some impersonal advice, and yours seems to always be spot on :-)

Thanks a ton,

Dear C.-

First off, thanks for the kind words, and it's fine to leave a question in comments. You can also email questions to terry(at)

Your instincts are correct. Do not text or call this guy. He made the unbidden proclamation about you being the woman he's been waiting for, so let him pick up the phone.

You sound extremely self-aware when you say that your former relationships broke up because you were too clingy. This is a great thing to know because next time around, you can easily alter this behavior with a bit of self-control.

But, back to this guy, whom you didn't cling to: He seemed great. He looked great. Smelled great. Said all the right things. And then promptly disappeared.

I understand you must be incredibly disappointed. I mean, what a letdown. On the other hand, if he hasn't re-emerged with an excellent reason for his disappearance by now, he may have done you a favor. I don't know what his intentions were, of course, or if he scared himself.

All I know is that he said he was open to considering the possibility of marriage with you, AND HE'D ONLY JUST MET YOU.

Listen, if some guy I met last Wednesday told me he was open to the possibility of marrying me, I'd tell him:

"I don't even know you."

You don't know this Prince Charming who only seems to be "sorted in his head." And he doesn't know you. His comments about discerning whether he'd marry you one day would be considered presumptuous in the United States. Are they usual for men in India?

Whether the answer is yes or no, I'm going to ask you to be more discerning. When a man you just met tells you you're the one he's been waiting for, take a big step back, raise your eyebrow and say, "Oh, yeah? Why do you think so?"

(Furthermore, why is he presuming that you're going to jump into his arms when he tells you this?)

This is your life we're talking about here.

And look, you say you have a full life. You have good friends, a business of your own, and lots of good books. I know you want a good man at your side, so please hold out for him.

You sound as if you have a great deal to offer, and some man will be very lucky to have you. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by presumptuous characters who are all talk and no action.


Anonymous said...

I can see why the LW has had problems with neediness in the past. Who would even CONSIDER or talk about marriage with someone you've only known for a few days? And after two days, she's flipping out because she hasn't heard from him? Of course I think a man should call when he says he will, but still, the LW needs to slow down! It sounds like they only met TWICE! On top of that, they're talking about going on holiday together? It takes time to develop trust, and to know if someone is truly right for you, MUCH, MUCH longer than a few days. Jump in that quickly and you are bound to be setting yourself up for disappointment. She needs to ask herself why she is so compelled to rush into relationships with virtual strangers.

The Singlutionary said...

I can relate to this post. My last boyfriend and I were together 3-4 months but he talked to me about marriage, we talked about where we'd like to hold our wedding. I should have known better but I just felt so glad and relieved that I had finally found my match.

It turned out the whole time he was still seeing his ex girlfriend. He was playing us off on each other.

I had had a similar experience when I was 19 and swore it would never happen to me again.

It is SO SO SO hard not to get excited, not to just fall into love, recklessly and with exhuberance when you've been waiting so long for a sense of that connection.

I haven't figured out how to be more reluctant yet. I wish I knew how to hold back because then I could trust myself more.

Chandni said...

Terry, thanks so much for your advice! It makes so much sense. Just to fill you in, it turns out he was really unwell, hence the silence... anyways, w've met a coupl of times since hen, spoken a few imes, kept things easy breezy, taking things slow... I think he too feels like too much was said too soon and now wants to take it forward slowly but surely... Coming from the culture we come from, there hasnt been much 'dating' till a while ago... The oncept of arranged marriages/evry relationship culminating into marriage is very strong here, and I guess my thoughts are still a bit coloured by that...
There are british and australian friends of mine who wouldnt think twice about man they went out with not calling them for the next 3-4 days, but I guess my thinking differently is all part of my social conditioning + some residual clinginess :-)
Your words to me have cleared a lot, and I think I'm now ready to bring this man don from his pedestal, view him as an equal, and now move forward slowl... Thanks a tonne!

Anonymous said...

Ouch Singlutionary, that's a tough one. Don't worry, every time it will get a little easier to hold yourself back a little bit. And maybe a little exuberance is better than becoming closed off? I tend toward the latter.

Terry, I liked your advice to Chandi. Chandi, how to you interact with your platonic friends? Do you tend to get clingy with them, or is your tendency limited to men? If the latter, then it's probably brought on by social pressure to conform to the marriage paradigm (which I've heard is VERY rigid in India). If the former, then it might stem from an insecurity that is more inside yourself. In any case, I wish you good luck with this new mystery man, and hopefully he will become less mysterious as time passes. = )