Baby Steps

QUESTION: Pat and I met while working out at the same gym. We started out smiling at one another to eventually building a friendship. We would talk for hours at the gym while working out together. Pat started calling me back in November--maybe once a week. I invited him out for my birthday get together (early December) and he came out with us. He brought me home and we continued talking from 10:30-1:00am. Then he called me when he got home so I would know he didn't fall asleep. He called me the following Wednesday night. He also sends me e-mails and I do the same. We planned to go out one night when we both did not have our children. We had our real first date. We went to dinner and bowling. We had great conversation (which is never a problem for us) and fun. When he dropped me off we hugged and talked of doing it again. We worked out together two nights later. Then he called me Friday night and we talked but he did not ask me out. It was Christmas weekend. He didn't call over Christmas but I didn't expect him too. He did send me an e-mail as soon as he got to work yesterday morning. We worked out together last night. But he still hasn't asked me out. I was the one who suggested our first date.

He told me when we first started talking that he is very shy. He also told me that he is very cautious when in relationships and likes to take things slow----baby steps. Should I let him suggest the second date? How long is too long between your first and second date? We have so much in common and our conversation is always so easy. I feel in my gut that he likes me but a woman always needs reassurance. By him not asking me out...I am not so sure. Please help.

CHUCK: Sorry for the delay in getting your answer to you.

Pat, unlike the guy in the previous post, "Approach/Avoidance," seems to be genuinely shy and determined to take his time where you are concerned. Otherwise, he would have made some type of overt advance on you by now. So, good for him for being truthful with you. But not so good on him for dragging his feet. My father used to say, "He who hesitates is lost." Not necessarily true, but when you procratinate, ground is definitely lost.

I'm not gonna make excuses for him, but can be kind of hard to get a new relationship up and going over the holiday season. Shopping, travel, and family demands can often play havoc with your schedule, and things you want to do get pushed further and further back. I once hesitated to ask a woman I was attracted to out for a first date on New Year's Eve, even after knowing her for a while, because I didn't want her to think I was presumptuous or desperate. Like I said, not making excuses. I'm just saying.

If Pat hasn't asked you out on a second date by now, what the hell, ask him out again. But this time, in a joking manner, tell him you're not going to be the only one trying to advance your relationship. See what he says. If he's attracted to you and has his head on straight, he should get the message. Good luck.

GARLAND: Hello there. Sorry for just getting to your question!

I think your instincts about Pat are probably right. He probably does like you and want a relationship with you, but this snails pace is no good. Taking you're time and moving a moderate pace is one thing, but this is JUST A SECOND DATE! Hopefully by the time you read this, the two of you would have knocked off the second and third dates.

I think Pat may be the kind of guy that is smart enough to know his own limitations - few people truly know this about themselves in my opinion. He may know that he falls deeply [and often stupidly] in love very quickly and this can usually lead to pain, sad and other generally Bad Things. So, he's protecting himself FROM HIMSELF.

My advice to you is - give Pat a little room, he's probably okay in the long run. But, there is no crime in you initiating a few dates - NOT ALL OF THEM - because he still needs to step up and not be a fraidy-cat, but giving him a little push in the dating comfort zone may payoff well in the long run. Please give us a little E-Mail update and let us know how things are going with you two. Good luck!

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