So what do you want ME to do?

QUESTION: Chuck and Garland,

I am so happy I found this blog. While looking through your past posts, I am thankful for the wisdom and advice you are sharing with us confused women.

If you could take a minute and share your thoughts about my problem (a problem that I think many women face) it would be very very appreciated.

I'm 23 years old and I've been dating this guy (that I really like) unofficially for about a month now. He made the first move and we hit it off right away. Our chemistry (physical and intellectual) is amazing (we haven't slept together yet, but we've done everything but...) We have a very similar since of humor, have a lot in common, and when we are together we totally fit. I know he feels the same way because whenever we get done from a date, he will always text me (usually 15 minutes after the date. sometimes the next morning) how good of a time he had, how much he loves hanging out with me, etc. I've also met a lot of his friends at a party he hosted - I could tell he loved to show me off. He compliments me (but not too much) and is always remembering little details I've shared with me. When we are together, I genuinely feel like he is interested in me.

What i'm struggling with is the fact that i'm setting up all the dates. Sometime's he'll hint that we should go out by saying something like "Oh we have to watch this movie soon" or "I can't wait to take you to this" but it's always me saying "Awesome, when do you want to go?" And other times, when I just ask if he wants to hang out soon, he'll say something like "Absolutely! Let me cook you dinner. How's sunday work?" or whatever. But he's never the initiator.

i've tried not instigating the dates, but then we end up not hanging out for like 6 days. He still texted/called/fbed me during those 6 days, but he never asked me to hang out. I don't call/text/fb him too much because I don't want to come off desperate, and because i'm already the one instigating the dates, i don't feel like instigating the rest of the communication.

I guess how I feel is if he really liked me, wouldn't he actively persue me? I've always been told men should persue the woman, not the other way around. So should I ignore our awesome chemistry and all the other signs that he is into me and stop pursuing him? Or should I continue what i'm doing and stop overanalyzing? Or should I be straight up and ask him "Hey, I can't really tell how into me you are. When we're together, It seems like you totally are into me. But you never really instigate hanging out so it's kinda giving me mixed signals."

Anyways, I would love to hear your feedback on if you think he is really into me and what I should do about this behavior.

Thanks so much!

GARLAND: Thanks for your question. I see that this one has been unanswered for a while, so I apologize for that. It would seem like after six years, Chuck and I would have our system down better, but alas life and work have a way of pushing our blogging to the back burner sometimes.

So – let’s see. I want to start by saying that I’m glad you seem to be in a good, though not great, situation. I know that you say “The Man is supposed to pursue The Woman,” but sometimes such general rules are either subject to interpretation or simply non-applicable. Now, granted, I do believe that a man has to make his interest in a woman clear, but all guys aren’t “shooters” some are “spotters”.

Let me explain. I think you may have a “spotter.” When it comes to military operations, “shooters” and “spotters” form a lethal and highly effective sniper team. The “shooter” aims the rifle, he/she looks through the sights and factors in elevation, wind, distance and a number of other factors and PULLS THE TRIGGER, The “shooter” makes the action happen. The “spotter” on the other hand, compiles the factors like elevation, wind speed and direction, distance, temperature and all sorts of other things and they give them to the shooter. But they do not PULL THE TRIGGER, they simply help the trigger pull result in a successful action.

I think your guy might be a “spotter.” He may like doing things and he may enjoy being with you, but he just isn’t good at pulling the trigger and making something happen. Maybe over time he will, but right now he doesn’t. He also may call himself seeing how interested in him YOU ARE. Yeah – SURPRISE! Sometimes us guys get a little insecure and we want to make sure you ladies aren’t playing us either. And yet again, he may consider himself to be a gentleman and he doesn’t want to crowd you by laying out times for you all to be together. In his mind, it may be enough to say, “Yeah, we need to see that movie…” but he wants to get together when it’s most convenient to you – so he lives the date and vacant pending your availability. Sure, that’s a bit extreme. But it’s possible.

I think you should assume that he likes you and he’s on the up-and-up, and just tell him that you’d like for him to be a little more aggressive when it comes to planning the things you both do. Tell him that it’s okay and you don’t feel boxed in when he suggests a time and place. Best of luck to you and drop us a line and let us know how things are going!


If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does anybody hear you lying?

Dear Chuck and Garland,

Though I've dated - and even had a couple of relationships - in the 3 1/2 years since my beloved husband died, I haven't liked anyone nearly as much as I do this new guy I met online. He's brilliant, funny, brash - very different than anyone I've ever dated, though he comes with some baggage (and kids, which I can deal with). We met online, are both 40-something, and have been seeing each other for a little over a month.

Why I'm confused: he came on super strong in the first two weeks - lots of texts and phone calls, two dozen roses - and there was even a night (3rd date?) where I got a little freaked because he was saying he thought he more than liked me, wished he'd met me years ago, etc., etc. Though flattered, I felt this was too much too soon so I told him he didn't know me well enough to feel that way yet. (Let me mention that this has also happened with the last two guys I've dated - they became overly infatuated very early on, professed love way too soon, and then bailed, one after a year, the other after three months.) This led to a good discussion with the new guy, though, on our views on romantic relationships. He's said since the beginning that he only dates one woman at a time and he took down his online profile immediately (though I did not agree to do the same for a couple of weeks). As far as the physical side of things, we've been fooling around since the second date, and have had sex several times (off the charts!) since the third date.

Then two things happened: he told me about something not-so-great in his past, and he had a sudden illness in the family. At first, I was totally cool with his admission and told him the past was the past. But then he canceled three dates in a row due to the family crisis, and given his admission, and the fact that I'd never even seen his house yet, I felt suspicious of the sudden caginess and like he was blowing me off. In the end, I probably didn't handle this well, as a lot of the back and forth was done through texting, and I confessed to doing a little Google research on him. I could also have been more patient while he sorted out his family stuff, but it went from lots of communication to almost none at all for a week and a half, and I had no idea what was going on.

When we did finally meet again, things were different. Although we did get together 2 x last week - he even made me an amazing dinner - and we've had great sex/sleepovers, he's backed off emotionally in a big way. Our daily contact is greatly reduced, there's no sense of urgency to see me, and the sweet-talk and nicknames and "xo" texts from him have completely ceased. When he does say nice stuff now, it's do with my sexiness ('best sex ever" "you're so gd sexy" "good morning sexy" instead of the "beautifuls," "I-like-you's," and "kisses" of before). But then I get mixed signals, like him leaving his shirt at my house intentionally, or his making me breakfast. Weirdest of all was his saying "Are you sure?" when I told him I really liked him, before saying he liked me too. (Which to me felt more like a deflection than a genuine need for reassurance.) I guess my questions are these: have I been downgraded to an I'll-see-her-when-I-want-sex relationship - somewhere above a booty call but well below the full-blown relationship I want? Should I ask him what's changed or let it ride a bit longer? Am I overanalyzing it? Though I really like him a lot - could even fall hard for this one, I think - and it's been so wonderful to feel hopeful about (potential) love again, I don't want a relationship of convenience. I can get sex anywhere and it worries me that this keeps happening - I'm starting to wonder why these men find me fascinating and sexy, but not loveable?

Thanks in advance.

GARLAND: Thank you very, very much for this question. I want to say first that I’m sorry about your husband’s passing. With regards to my answer, it’s going to be the answer that I have wanted many women to hear since we’ve had this blog!

I’m going to answer your questions one by one and then I’m gonna’ vamp a little at the end.

ONE: “Have I been downgraded to an I'll-see-her-when-I-want-sex relationship - somewhere above a booty call but well below the full-blown relationship I want?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, I have to say “Yes, I think so.”

QUESTION: “Should I ask him what's changed or let it ride a bit longer?”

ANSWER: I’m big on talking things out, but I’m not feeling it for this guy. I suspect that you’ll get a steaming load of crap from him. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

QUESTION: “Am I overanalyzing it?”

ANSWER: Hell no! If you were counting the number of times he says your name in his texts, or if you were counting the number of times he smiles at you when you talk, or if you were trying to figure out which days he scrambles eggs best – then I’d say, yeah, you’re over analyzing, but taking a serious look at the progression of your relationship and his actions is quite reasonable. I think you are doing okay.

QUESTION: “ Though I really like him a lot - could even fall hard for this one, I think - and it's been so wonderful to feel hopeful about (potential) love again, I don't want a relationship of convenience. I can get sex anywhere and it worries me that this keeps happening - I'm starting to wonder why these men find me fascinating and sexy, but not loveable?”

ANSWER: Now keep in mind that what I’m giving you is my opinion. I’m only hearing your perspective, and I certainly don’t know you or this guy that you are talking about, but what I’ll say is this: I think a lot of guys grow more juvenile and insecure as they grow older. I think a lot of guys feel like they’ve missed something in their younger days and they become less and less capable of being in what most people would call "a committed relationship." I think some guys drift around women not wanting to be too serious, not wanting to feel too tied down and not being in a position where they might miss out on the next attractive woman that might be willing to take off her clothes for them.

That’s what worried me when you said that on the third date he started talking about these "deep feelings" he has for you. I wish more women perked their ears up when guys did this and said to themselves, “BS ALERT! BS ALERT! BS ALERT!” Now, I’m not saying that some guys don’t catch legitimate feelings early on, but I think most of these guys have to go through a period of denial and attempts to rationalize what they are feeling. The number of guys that are truly serious about catching feelings by the third of fourth date and actually tell the women is probably very low. [That’s just my opinion!] I think when a lot of guys start telling women that they ‘care about them’ and ‘love them’ and say things like, ‘the Lord sent me here to find you,” very early in a relationship, they are trying to blind you with bull***t. Sorry, I think that is just the truth more often than not.

A lot, a WHOLE LOT of guys think [and know] that a fair number of single women, looking for dates online, or in clubs, or in certain social circles will fall for that kind of over-the-top comment. Check this out: “Honey, let me tell you. I love being single. All of my boys are married and doing the family thing and I’m just chillin’ doing my thing. But then I meet you and I’m like WOW, where did she come from? She’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s crazy, sexy, cool – you know. I just don’t know what I’m gonna’ do. I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve never felt this way before. I… I… I think I’m falling in love with you.” Now, I just came up with that off the top of my head, and I bet that if I polished it up, and delivered it across a dinner table in just the right light on the third date to 20 women that are legitimately trying to meet a nice guy, I bet that more than a couple would buy it. My point is – some guys will do their best to bull***t their way into your bedroom or your bank account! They aren't worried about your heart. I’ve seen it many times in women that I’ve known over the years. I’d love to give you some examples, but I’m afraid that some folks I know would have their feelings hurt if they saw it on this blog and I’m just not going to do that.

Also, let me just hit two other points on why you feel “fascinating and sexy, but not loveable,” TEXTING and HIS PLACE. Don’t be so quick to accept luv from your cellphone just because it’s there. Texting is so cold and impersonal and yet millions of people value it so much. They think they are loved because someone took 28 seconds to send them a three sentence text message. MAKE A MAN call you! Make him take a few minutes away from his day to step aside and share his voice with you and listen to your voice. Demand MORE! Don’t accept LESS! And, if a man has honest intentions with you, then he will let you see his home within the first few dates. To me, as a MAN who was single at a prior point in his life, this was a gesture of honesty and trust. A man that opens his home and lets you in is showing you, (1.) He’s single and doesn’t have a wife. [Look around carefully though, she might be out of town!] (2.) He’s not a bum that still lives with his Mama. [Look around carefully though, she too might be out of town!] (3.) He lives a certain way, neat, sloppy, artful, dirty, whatever. (4.) He can sustain himself - He can furnish a place, he has food in his refridgerator, his toilet is clean, he has soap in his bathroom, there isn't a big hole in his living room floor! He is a reasonable person! But don’t allow him in and out of your home and your bed if you’ve never darkened his doorstep. You are setting yourself up to get caught in bed with a married man!

Lastly, don’t believe for a second that you are “fascinating and sexy, but NOT loveable,” Don’t allow a handful of unworthy men that are not in your league to make you devalue the woman in the mirror. She is fascinating, and sexy AND LOVEABLE. Scrutinize the men you meet, don’t fear over analyzing, keep your eyes and ears open for BS, and don’t settle for less than you deserve and you’ll find the guy and the relationship that you’re looking for. Take care!


I want that shaken and not stirred... LMAO.

QUESTION: This is my story:

I met this guy about a year and half ago, he happens to be my best friend's husband's best friend, I was instantly attracted to him but kept my interest to myself because he lives about an hour and half away from me and we have many mutual friends. However, (thanks to the internet) we started to talk on a regular basis on google-chat about 6 months ago - we chatted about everything 4 or 5 days a week for hours on end. Both of us are very shy people, and awkward when it comes to flirting and relationships - so talking online makes everything easier. When I would see him at friends' events I noticed he would look at me a lot, and when I looked at him he would immediately look a way. At the onset of these events and parties, the two of us would ignore each other at the beginning, but by the end of the night we would be chatting alone together.

After about 2 months of chatting online, the two of us were at the same party. We both got fairly tipsy and flirted the entire night, and ended up making out after everyone had gone to bed. But, we never spoke about that instance until several months later. After this drunken make-out session he got a little distant, and we stopped chatting online for about a week, then out of the blue he tells me that he'll be in my city for work, and we should grab lunch! In his line of work he is required to travel a fair amount of the time, and after this first lunch non-date, we would always have lunch (sometimes he would pay, other times we went dutch) whenever he was in town. During these outings we would sometimes talk about past relationships and what we were looking for in a partner. We both have had horrible experiences in long term dating situations. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship with someone who eventually became an alcoholic - fortunately for me I got out of that relationship before anything too terrible happened. My love interest was in a relationship with a woman who got pregnant with another man's child the first month they lived together, he had also purchased a wedding ring shortly before he discovered her infidelity. Needless to say, both of us are a little more than scarred.

As time passed, our relationship would slowly (emphasis on the word 'slowly') blossom, and we've started to become closer and closer over the past several months. A month later he and I were at another party, and we both got a little tipsy again and we ended up fooling around (no sex) in my friend's spare bedroom - we were at it for a good 3 hours, I remember the sun coming up and we were still fooling around. It was awesome. Again, we don't talk about this occurrence and he stops chatting with me online for another week. After this event he continued to let me know when he was in town, and we would have lunch.

Our many mutual friends started to catch on that we were starting to be more than friends, and would tease us. Every time I would flirt with him he wouldn't respond or he would get really nervous, so it was hard to tell his level of interest in me. At about month 5 of all of this happening I was still really confused about how he truly felt about me. I couldn't take it any more and let him know all of my feelings, and I had to push him to get any information out of him. Keep in mind I let him know this via text message (I'm shy, talking directly to someone about feelings scares me. Texting/online = safety) - I found out through our conversation that he was 1) concerned about the long distant thing, but we're only an hour and half apart and I let him know that it didn't bother me, 2) he had already been thinking about how things would work if we did start to date, 3) he was concerned about dating someone who was his best friend's wife's friend, 4) he wanted more physical relations with me.

A week later after this discussion, we went on what many people may define as a double date to a movie. It was just our two mutual married friends mentioned above, and us. I paid for the tickets, and he paid for the popcorn/drinks and dinner after the movie. During this non-double date he was flirting with me more than any other time that we had been in public together. Teasing, touching, hugging, texting each other at the table, etc.

Flash-forward another week and we go on our very first official date, I drive to his house and we planned that I would be staying for the entire weekend. Obviously, we end up having sex that night. It was probably the most romantic sex I've ever had. He gently kissed me, gazed into my eyes, pushed the hair out of my face, held my hand, held my face when he kissed me. The foreplay lasted for a good 3+ hours. However, when the actual sex part came around...he didn't last very long, and I could tell he was kinda surprised by this and felt bad. Saturday night came and he was hosting a party, as usual he doesn't pay much attention to me at the beginning, but towards the end of the night he had his hand on my ass in front of 15 of our closest friends - a big step. We didn't end up having sex that night b/c we were both wasted (too drunk to have sex, I know!). The next day before I left we cuddled on the couch watching netflix for a good 5-6 hours. Not to mention that two of his closest friends, who spent the night in the spare room, saw us cuddling in the same bed that very morning.

Since that night he's been a little distant, the texts and google chats have been very sparse. If I do send him a message he will respond almost immediately but the conversation doesn't go anywhere. It's been almost 2 weeks and we've barely talked to each other. So I'm just confused. I want to pursue a real relationship with him, I just don't know what I need to do.

Please help.

GARLAND: WOW? Uh, thanks for your question. In the six years that we’ve done this blog, I have never been a fan of long questions. I try to pick up specific points and sometimes it is hard to pick out the key details when I’m told about all sorts of different things, so I hope I can get to the crux of your concern.

Before I get to my answer let me just hit a few points.

ONE: Please tell me I read this wrong and you were NOT sitting at the same table with your friends and the two of you were TEXTING each other? This is not good. If you two can sit at the same table and chose to tap on your little qwerty keyboards instead of speaking to each other – then unfortunately, rough times may lie ahead.

TWO: Your friends ‘tease’ you because you two are attracted to each other? You may need some more mature friends. I fear they may tease you because you are wearing white on your wedding day.

To me, it seems that the two of you may be too timid and passive aggressive for your own good. I don’t mean to sound rude, and I’m not trying to be callous, but the two of you, according to what you’ve said, basically have to intoxicated in order to loosen-up enough to show each other any affection. That is NEVER a solid foundation for a relationship, though oddly I have heard of quite a few couples that disagreed with me.

And let me just hit this texting thing again. Chuck and I both agree that texting is going to prove to be the doom of most relationships. People rely too heavily on the safety and non-personal nature of texting and they lose the face to face passion that a relationship should bring. You [usually] can’t look someone in the eye when you text them. You can’t hear the changes in their voice to see if they are happy or sad or angry or lying. You can’t gauge whether someone is joking when they text, “SORRY I CAN’T COME OVER TONIGHT. I’M SCREWING MY BOSS. LOL” Now if someone said that to you, you could probably tell it was a joke. In a text message, it could be completely true and when they dump you, they can say, “Well, I told you I was screwing my boss!”

My suggestion is this. Make arrangements for a weekend together. Go someplace right between the two of you – forty-five minutes from both of you. Split the room 50/50 to eliminate that drama, leave your cell phones in the cars! And have NO alcoholic drinks for the whole weekend! If, and I’m dead serious here – if you can’t spend a whole weekend, Friday night to Sunday afternoon without your cell phones, without texting and without booze, then don’t waste your time trying to build a relationship together. Cut bait.

However, if you can pull this off. Take the weekend to talk about your feelings, your ideas, your plans for the future and see if the two of you can forge a relationship together. Really be candid and enjoy the time you have without your friends, and without having to be drunk and without your little electronic chaperones!

Best of luck. “GDBY”

Meet me in the copier room... we need to talk.

Hi Chuck & Garland,

This is my question- does he genuinely like me or is it just sex or friendship he's after?

I joined a company 6 months ago. I am 33 and married for 5 yrs and he is 31 and involved. From the day I joined I noticed him looking at me across the room and have caught his eyes couple of times. Since we are in 2 different divisions although he sits behind me in an open plan office our interactions have been very few over 6 months. When ever we interact he talks very softly and "caringly"(very politely in other words) and blushes. He tends to blush with everyone but a bit more so with me. All this attracted me towards him over 6 months and now I cant stop thinking about him. It doesn't help the fact that I decided to marry my best friend and compromise on passion. I feel I can have a passionate relationship with this guy if he ever decides to make a move.

This is why I think he likes me;

1. He smiles alot when I go over to talk to me as if he's very happy to see me
2. Every time he speaks to me - he is extremely polite with a soft voice- nicer to me than I 've hear him around others
3. He blushes around me
4. He has a very unusual name which I keep pronouncing wrong- he has never corrected me although I've seen him correcting others. When I apologised for it he said the way I pronounce his name sounds nice somehow.
5. He has given me 2 eye brow flashes when he sees me for the first time in the day, throughout the 6 months- first one about 2 months ago and the second couple of days ago.

This is why I think he is not interested romantically and interested in just being a friend or only attracted to me sexually:

1. When we do talk I try to linger the eye contact so he knows I like him(I have even looked at his chest while he was looking at me to show I like what I see!) but his smiling gaze goes from my eyes to elsewhere and back to my eyes and elsewhere again- he never maintains a lingering eye contact even if he;s red in the face and smiling silly.
2. He has a lot of friends- guys and girls a like- but have never seen him being loud and outgoing- he maybe well behaved around me or simply could be a flirt??
3. When transferring objects(only happened twice) he goes out of his way not to touch my fingers. He has never touched me or attempted to.
4. If we were in a small gathering with other collegues I would never catch him looking at me.- as if I am the last person on his mind to notice.

I would very much appreciate a guy's opinion on this.


GARLAND: Thanks for your question. Let me take a crack at giving you a guys perspective on it.

I can’t really sink my teeth into any of the examples you cited. I’m not trying to be difficult but you can actually flip any of your examples around and take them to mean the opposite of what you think they mean.

For example, you think he doesn’t like you because, “If we were in a small gathering with other collegues I would never catch him looking at me.- as if I am the last person on his mind to notice.” I could spin that and say he DOES like you because, he doesn’t look at you in the fear that everyone in the meeting would see the look in his eyes and know that he’s attracted to you and he doesn’t want his feelings known.

You think he likes you because, “He smiles a lot when I go over to talk as if he's very happy to see me.” And, I could rationalize that into him NOT liking you because he could be smiling to hide how much he can’t stand you. He could be saying, “Smile Jimmy. Smile. Don’t let her see how much she gets on your nerves.

Okay, look I’m just adding a neutral perspective on your situation.

Let me give you my real take on this. I honestly don’t know if he likes you or not. I’m a guy that’s big on letting people know how I feel about them, but you two can’t really do that at this point. This guy and you are both beating around the bush and for good reason, you are married and he has a girlfriend. The two of you can’t risk putting your feelings out in the closed in environment of work. What if he doesn’t like you like that? What if he does and the people in the office get wind of what the two of you two are doing? There is a lot at play in this situation and a lot at risk.

I think, I’m sorry – I KNOW the answer lies with the chap that you like. Despite my warnings above, the only way you will know for sure is to take some time and think about yourself, your husband, your marriage and your future and you have to decide one of two things – ONE, either you will approach this co-worker of yours in a private, away-from-work location and ask him straight-up how he feels about you, or TWO, decide that his feelings for you have no real benefit to your life or your future and you don’t push the issue any further. I’m not saying which one is right because I don’t know you personally, but YOU have to figure out what you want and what are willing to risk to get it and/or keep it.

This guy knows how he feels, YOU have to figure out if you REALLY AND TRULY want to know. You have to make a decision and you have to accept it and move forward. I wish you the best in your situation!

CHUCK: I can't make head or tail of your signs, either. "He smiles, he avoids my touch, etc." It may mean something. It may mean nothing. It may mean something one time, and nothing the next time. It may... You get the idea. What I'm saying is, I can't decipher this guy's behavior. I don't know him. You don't, either.

What you're doing with this question, really, is taking two issues, and combining them into one. And your dilemma cannot be addressed until you separate those issues, and address them as such. So...

Issue #1: You are married, but apparently unfulfilled. Why else would you care so much about what some dude in the office thinks about you? You say that you made a decision years ago to marry your best friend and "compromise on passion." That may have been enough at that point, but it doesn't look like it is anymore. You are taking what is a casual relationship, and putting a whole lot into it. Maybe it's time for you to reassess your marriage, and determine if you still want to stick with the compromise you made. But don't do that just because you're thinking about your co-worker.

Issue #2: You can't figure out what your co-worker's intentions are, based on his actions. As I said above, we really can't figure out what he feels about you. Which is the main reason you can't be making crucial life decisions based on what you believe he thinks. He may view you as attractive, he may have thought about pursuing you. But he is attached, and he knows that you're attached, and has decided not to pursue you. Plus, the workplace is a minefield for relationships, even when couples are unattached. Let's give this man some credit for his restraint.

In my view, what you need to dom first and foremost, is decide whether you want to remain married or not. You apparently want more passion in your life than you have now, and, if so, you should pursue it. Maybe your future lies with this man in your office. Maybe not. But you should be free of your attachments before you give it real consideration.