A Simple Question -

QUESTION: Hi, I read your blog often and find it to be very insightful.
I have a complicated situation (don't most of those asking for advice) but it all boils down to a very simple question.

I've been with my boyfriend for three years and the relationship has gotten progressively more serious. We live together and he's very supportive emotionally and financially.
Question is this - Is it possible for a man to be honest when he says that he loves me and knows that he wants to settle down with me soon, yet still be involved with other women?


CHUCK: My simple answer to that question: No. Okay, that's maybe too simple.

This man may want to settle down with you someday, but he feels the need to sow his wild oats, so he wants to spread himself around some first. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, as long as he isn't violating a commitment to you, and he's careful not to bring any diseases to your relationship.

However... Some men just use talk like that as a stall. Five years later, he could conceivably still be telling you that he needs to play the field... just a little longer. And, let's face it, there's guys who feel as though there's always someone "better" out there, so how long are you willing to wait?

The bottom line for me is this: I question just how much a man can really love you if he is willing to lose you while you wait to see if he gets his head on straight. That puts a different face on it, doesn't it? If you do not care to wait on this man, while you know he is going around with other women, simply do not do it. If this man's hand is forced, he may have to decide if he wants these other women more than he wants you. And that is not an unreasonable question to ask.

Garland: Thanks for your question. Like Chuck, I say "Nay."

Your man says he loves you... and you ASSUME he wants to settle down with you soon... but he needs to be 'involved' with other women...

Okay, where do I begin? So you say that he 'knows he wants to settle down with you soon," Please keep in mind that this statement is probably only one of two things - A Lie or An Assumption. A guy that lives with you and still goes out into the street meeting and sleeping with other women until he's bored enough to come back to you sounds like a scrub to me. Scrubs are liars by nature in My Book.

I just don't think this guy is honest with you. You are probably serving a purpose to him that you might not even grasp. Maybe you are the half of the rent he can't afford, maybe you are the good credit that he doesn't have for utility service, maybe you are the half of the cable bill that he can't afford, maybe you own the car he can't afford to buy... it could be anything. I just don't like your situation, I don't like a guy that CLEARLY strings you along with tales of, "You know I love you baby, and as soon as I have hooked up with every girl in a six-mile radius I'm going to pretend to respect you, even in public."

I think you should demand more for yourself. You are being lied to and being played. Why do you think that you should allow a man that claims to care about you to go out, wine, dine, entertain, share with, laugh with, sleep with, shower with and be with other women until... until... until... he has nothing else better to do than to treat you like a classy lady worthy of a faithful monogamous... let's say it together MO-NOG-A-MOUS... relationship? You deserve better and only YOU can establish just what you will and won't accept.

No, a man cannot honestly say he loves you, and he'll settle down with you after he's finished lovin' these other women. See - let me tell you - LOVE, real LOVE has a way of making a man come home at night. Real LOVE makes a man decide, "Ain't no woman like the one I got!" When a man is in Real LOVE he doesn't need to set a timer in front of his woman and say "when this timer hits zero, I'll choose you over them." A man in Real LOVE is all about his woman and his woman only.


Bare Bones Relationship

QUESTION: What a great blog! I really like that you guys give honest, open frank advice.

So here's my situation,

In my dating life, I am always told that I am too intimidating because I happen to be a very well educated independent woman...being mindful of this, I try to only date guys who are equally well educated, assuming that those types won't be intimidated by me. Well about 3 years ago, I met a guy at a conference, who I felt was equally well educated and we talked very briefly after he invited me into a conversation he was having with a group of friends. I was suprised he even knew my name but I joined the conversation for about 10 minutes and then we did not really talk again, although I saw him at a couple of parties after then, I would just say hi and that would be it. Well, about 2 years ago, I added him as a friend on FB, and saw that on his status that he was working overseas in a country I was planning to visit the next month. I send him a private message saying that I was coming to the country, wanted to know if there were any great places to go in the area.

He responded with he would still be in the area when I got there and asked me to let me know when I was around. The next month, after I arrived in the country, I sent him a FB Message saying I was there and he responded telling me to call him. I waited about 3 days and then called. We talked but did not make plans to meet since he was going out of the country the next day. He got back in the country the next week and sends me a FB msg saying he was back and that we should hang out sometime in the week. I was out of town that day but sent him a message to let him know I would be back the next day and I would call him. However, the next day I got busy and waited until the following day to call him and when we talked, he asked me if I wanted to get together that night, I said that it was too late to do so but didn't explain why (I could not because of security in the neighboorhood I stayed having a 7 pm curfew). He immediatly back tracked and says that its okay, I should come to this group dinner he was having the next night for a friend. I go and meet all his friends. The party was fun but again I had to leave early and didn't tell him why (same security reasons) He asked me to stay once, but I said no.

After that I sent him a message to say that I was leaving the country and explained why I left early during the group dinner and let him know that if he was ever back in my city back in the US, he should let me know. A couple of months later, he was back in the states and sent me a FB message asking how I was doing. We communicate for the next few months over FB because it turned out that he was moving permantely out of the country. During this time, he never took more than a week to respond to any FB message I sent him and neither did I. After about 3 months, we fell out of contact and he sent me a message about 5 months after we fell out of contact, wishing me happy birthday and asking me what I was up to. I responded the next day thanking him and asking him what he was up to and how he liked living abroad. He waits 3 months to respond to that message and says he was sorry, didn't see the msg...etc. I respond immediatly, saying that it was okay, we go back and forth over FB message for the next month or so. During this time period, I let him know that I was coming to the country he was in for work around Christmas time and he suggests that we meet up again when I get there. We fall out of contact because he didn't respond to one message I sent him so I just wait and message him 3 months later when I am in his country and he suggests we get together for drinks. I was about 20 minutes late in meeting him and he mentioned my lateness at least 3 times during the evening as if he couldn't believe I had him waiting. I apologized and blamed it on poor driving conditions in the country. Also, I assumed it was going to be just us getting drinks and it ends up being him, me and some friends of his that were visting from the U.S. as well (3 guys, 1 girl). During the get together, I felt he spent most of his time, trying to impress his friends. Making comments like "o man you can't come by the house later tonight because I'll be busy" and laughing which I felt was like the equivalent of him saying he and I were going to have sex that night. Also, at some point, the water brings my unmixed drink and I am forced to mix it myself. In doing so I spill it and I tell him that I would not have spilled it if he had just poured it for me. He says "Oh you know you independent woman, I didn't ask to help you because you might say, I can pour my own drink" I simply replied, I would never say that. Anyway, his friends left and when he and I just sat down to talk, the conversation was good. I felt like when he stop putting on a show for his friends and actually talked to me it was nice. After some time, he started talking about work and a project he really had to finish and looking down at his blackberry, so I took that as a cue to end the evening. We hugged goodbye and he asked me to call him when I got home. I get home and discovered all the electricity was out (remember foreign country!) plus I had been drinking quite a bit so I call him and I say I am home but there is a problem, all the lights are out and I am all by myself and I asked if he wanted to come over an entertain me. He chuckled and said no, that he really had to finish this project he was working on. I felt hurt and rejected because in my mind, I was clearly asking him to come over and have sex with me. The next day, he sent me a text message that said something like..."sorry I couldn't come over last night, I hope everything was okay" I responded saying I was fine and that I hoped his project went well. I didn't hear from him again and I left the country 4 days after our last communication. No communication between the two of us for about 2 months. Then he sends me a FB message saying that he was in the U.S. and hadn't heard from me so he wanted to check on me. I responded the next day with I was good and asking how he was. He doesn't respond for 5 months and then two days ago sends me a message saying he was sorry, he thought he had already responded but hadn't. Then he tells me he recently left his job, was thinking about starting his own business, and asked how things were with me. I saw this message and was hurt. 5 months of non-communication is unacceptable and I had already put him out my mind...but the message brought him to the forefront and it had me thinking again about how much I like him and how great we'd be together.

Now, I want to respond to his message but my pride won't let me because he waited so long to respond to my last message. Plus, I am tired of the nice cordial FB messages, I want to know if he's interested in me or not, its been almost 2 years of the random communication and I am sick of it. I would like to get to know each other on a serious level and maybe even start a relationship if he comes back to the US soon. Anyway, I am confused by his actions...nothing he has done shows clear interest to me but if he's not interested, then why is he stringing me along, it can't be for the sex, because I feel like I already offered that to him and he declined. So what is it? What should I do, Haven't I "put myself" out there enough for him to get it and shouldn't I assume he just doesn't want to get it or have I been sending mixed messages this whole time? How do I be clearer about what I want from him? Is this something, I can do over FB, or something I should ask him to call me from overseas to explain?

CHUCK: The police officer at an accident I passed the other night said it best: Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. In all of your two years of FB messages, international travel, mild flirting, and near curfew violations, you have not even come close to being in a relationship with this man. You're not even in the ballpark.

I can understand how you might think, what with the international distance that is frequently between you, that you must be missing out on something great with this guy. But the fact is that the geographic distance is less of an obstacle than the emotional distance. If you were truly meant to be together, once you were in the same country with him, you would rush to be near his side, and vice versa. Instead, you let days go by, call him as an afterthought, spend most of your time together in the company of his friends, and hurry away to meet your curfew. And when you're not in the same country, he lets long periods of time lapse between contacting you. You'd have to admit: this is far from the Greatest Love Story Ever Known.

I think that what's happened here is you've built up a relationship with this man in your head, more from conjecture and speculation than on actual events. A guy who goes five months without contacting you at all is NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND. It seems as though the closest you have come to this guy was when he was trying to put some awkward show on for his friends by flirting with you. But that may have been just him being a prick. And having sex with you has progressed so far out of the realm of possibility with him, that he completely misses your hints that he should come over and get some.

If you want to really get together with this guy, and it is still possible, it time to finally put some meat on this relationship's bones. You have never said that you have made a direct appeal to this man's affections. Maybe now is the time for that. Send him an FB message, to reserve a time to SPEAK TO HIM on the phone. Let him know how you've been feeling about the possibilities to enrich your relationship together. See how he feels. If he feels the same, you approaching him directly might shock him out of the complacency that allows him to treat your messages so cavilierly. If he doesn't feel the same, well, what have you lost, anyway? Give it a shot. Good luck.

GARLAND: I'm going to disagree with Chuck on this one. His answer started with what I'm thinking... "Move along. Nothing to see here." but he finished with a splash of optimism. I'm just not in agreement.

I think that after two years and international travels and back and forth and FB messages this and FB messages that, I just don't think hunting this fellow down for swing at a relationship would be in your best interest.

Just to grab a few specific points you made - the pouring of the drink... I am amazed that you could remember such a specific fact. I kinda' have to agree with your friend on this one - the first thing you told Chuck and I was that you were very independant. I'm pretty sure a strong, intelligent and independent woman wouldn't suddenly fall helpless to a few shot glasses of liquid and a shaker of ice. I think he knew the score on that one. And, as far as him telling his friends, "I'm gonna be busy later tonight..." Isn't that what he told you too? Didn't he say he had a project for his job to work on? I think he was talking about working on his project, and you thought he was talking about working on you!

Also, the whole 'inviting him over for sex' on the same night he tells you he has an important project for work... well, that's pretty selfish on your part. You could have invited him over on any night of the week, but you wanted him to choose YOU over his job. You wanted him to go to work the next day shorthanded, so you could show him that you're the boss. I think that it is good that he even spoke to you after that one - if that was me, and you pulled that kind of power-struggle move on me, I would have kicked you to the curb. But that's not answering your question...

I think for your sake you should write this guy off. He probably thinks that you are a nice person and he likes keeping up with you on FB and maybe having a drink or two now and then. But if this guy wanted to date you or be in love with you, I think he would have made it clear by now. I think you are arranging him and your feelings for him in a manner that makes him seem like he could be [or should be] The One. I think that is a title that he probably doesn't want. You and your time are more valuable than that. I think your efforts are better spent on a guy that is there with you, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Thanks for your question, and best of luck to you!