Balanced Pursuit

how to pursueImagine this. A guy walks up to you at a large social gathering at someone’s home. You don’t know him, but he introduces himself and seems nice enough. You get talking to him and he starts complimenting you.

The first compliment is nice. You feel pleasantly flattered. Then he compliments you again about something

else. You feel it’s a little awkward to receive two compliments in such close succession from a guy you only just met.

Then he compliments you about something else. At this point you become more aware of him and notice his eyes continue to focus on you, ignoring the other three people participating in the conversation.

You decide you like him enough to overlook his social awkwardness. After all, you haven’t been on a date in a while. So when he asks for your number, you give it.

That night he calls you after the party. He doesn’t wait two days or a week to get in contact with you. In fact, he asks if you want to meet for coffee the next evening. He’s pushing a little too fast and too hard, right?

What’s wrong with this picture? This situation wouldn’t be all that bad if it weren’t for one thing. It’s a one-way pursuit of a relationship. If both partners were participating in this kind of head-over-heels tumble toward rapid relationship building, that might be okay. But that’s not what’s happening here.

When one person does all the pursuing, the relationship typically fades quickly. Relationships like this have no romantic tension. Romantic tension is that special ingredient you see in movies based on Jane Austin’s books like Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice. Her keen observations of human nature allowed her to build stories focused on a very powerful feature of any beautiful romance.

how to pursueRomantic tension is critical for the survival of a relationship during the early stages. If one person does all the pursuing and initiating, things usually sputter to a rapid close.

Much of human desire stems from the tantalizing possibilities of the future. If all a man has to do is give in and accept a relationship with you, it removes all romantic tension. There’s no speed limit.

Romantic tension is built when you take a step forward, and then wait. Then he reciprocates, and waits. This balance creates a palpable tension in the air between the two of you. It’s the stuff of powerful romance.

Experience has shown me that even couples who have been married for 25 years can use the principles of balanced pursuit to rekindle a fiery romance. It can also be used to enhance the intrigue and fun of something as simple as planning a date night with your partner.

When you find yourself in a new relationship (or an existing one that needs rekindling) think of ways to introduce intrigue by inviting interaction and then pulling back to give space for your partner to pursue you back.

If you’d like to study this concept more, consider investing in your dating life by picking up a copy of my training materials here.

Watch for my next post on things you should talk about on a date.

James Bauer

What Men Secretly Want

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76 thoughts on “Balanced Pursuit

  1. Ann said:

    This article really hit me hard as the guy that I have been emailing just said that I needed to go a LOT slower in my next relationship as he was ending this one with me and it was not a real relationship, just emailing. I didn’t understand it when it was saying however, this article tells me exactly what he was talking about ! Thanks, James

    • James Bauer said:

      I’m sorry you are going through the emotions of a breakup. I do hope this article will help you with your next relationship. Thanks for the kind note.

  2. kathy said:

    I’m just getting over ( trying to) a fast relationship. Intense, mutual, then poof, gone. It wasn’t just him, or just me. Then he changed his mind. No apparent reason.

  3. suzanne rogers said:

    That doesnt sound like a “relationship”….more like a fling…sorry! 🙁

  4. Katya said:

    I was in a relationship that started like that and It was like being ambushed. I regret it a great deal now as he didn’t give himself a chance to get to know me, it was based on an image he had formed in his mind which wasn’t me at all, it was just that I seemed like one of the ‘cool’ pretty girls, no one wants to be pursued for being part of an image or group that someone wants access to. Equally when I became a real person to him he hated me. Good riddance, I wish I’d been stronger and told him to take a hike.

    • Elisabeth said:

      Hello Kathy, I really sympathise with you, as exactly the same thing happened to me. I think, at least in my case, the solution could have been to cool it off a little. x

      • Hadassah said:

        Ouch, yeah, I get that ladies. I just hate that by this time in a relationship, I give my heart to it and then they leave. I so wish I knew these things before…

        Thanks, James! Will try to invest in your teachings as soon as I can afford it. 😉

    • PR said:

      Katya: I feel your pain…I dated a man like that on and off for three years. We were apart for a year and a half this last time. I left because I couldn’t take the drama. He came back (I was stupid enough to let him) He told me he changed, he gave up a good woman, blah, blah, blah. I spent two months with him and ..WOW, he really had changed! We moved in together, BIG mistake. When he realized who I really was he turned on me and nothing I did was right. I no longer fit his “image” of who he thought I was. After 3 short months I told him I was done. I moved out 4 days later. Best thing I ever did. He was too fast from the beginning, I was too flattered a man would be so absorbed in me, he fooled me. And from what I have found out, I was just one in a line of many. You go girl..I feel better now he is gone from my life. It’s a fast trap and easy to fall into..

      • NP said:

        PR… Sounds like similar situation to me, which I myself have just left when I finally caught him cheating. saying he loved me after 1 month and how he had been searching for me his whole life and I was the one. Kept saying why won’t you open up to me etc. ! I did much quicker than I would and it was nothin but lies from then on. He always said he had “changed” after he would vanish for a weekend we had plans on, or borrowed money he never paid back. After I saw msgs he sent another girl saying he loved her it was over for good

  5. Lucia, may, 3 2013

    I really enjoy reading your emails, this one in particular. I was dating a great guy and he is gone, but now I understand why he is going. I didn’t creat romanc tension, nor was I intriguing. Thanks to you I can say I am ready for my next relatonship.

    • James Bauer said:

      People like you make me happy. I hope you find a guy that will really value you for the wonderful person you are.

  6. Liaura said:

    Hi james,

    I enjoy reading your articles. Could you please give us more examples of ways to create intrigue? I feel there is fine line between creating romantic tension and “playing with the other person”. For example, how do you “invite interaction and then pull back”? Do you mean doing something like planning a date with him and then cancelling it?

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a great question Liaura. I can tell you are thinking this through and trying to envision the practical details of bringing it to life. Part of the problem with specific details is that each couple has a different dynamic, so an example that would work in one situation might totally flop in another. I try to provide the underlying concept for you to tailor to the unique situation you find yourself in.

      That said, no, definitely not planning a date and then cancelling it. That just sends two opposite messages. The “pulling back” part should not be an opposite message. Rather, it should be more like this (and remember, this is just an example to illustrate the underlying concept). You move closer to him and stand a little closer than two people normally would stand. His pulse quickens because you are in his personal space…but he likes it, and he can’t help but notice that you are holding his gaze a little longer…like you’d like to see deeper into his soul. Then you are looking past him, over his shoulder for just a moment and with a slight side step you’ve left his personal space…still smiling and engaging in your demeanor. Now it’s up to him to show a little bit more attention or interest. It’s up to him to decide if he wants to pursue more of what he thinks he just felt with you.

      In this way, you are suggesting more, but not really promising. You are stepping forward, but leaving room for him to reciprocate. Hope this helps. Thanks for the great question.

      • Cindy said:

        I enjoy your response to the question…thank you.

        • Esther said:

          I love this because it is a cleverer way of dealing with such tricky issues and persons. thank you for the advice to people who read and understand what they read.

  7. Lina said:

    I went through something similar to the scenario you gave James, but didn’t really understand what was happening. At the end of date 1 (which he initiated), I brought up an idea the ended up being date 2 only a few days later. Before the end of that one, he planned the 3rd. 4th was up in the air as far as solid details, but we had a day set. 5th one was my idea. All of those were a week apart.

    After that we fell off and never regained….he asked me to come out at the last minute one evening but I was already out with friends and had work to do when I left them, so I declined. Didn’t want to but had to, and made it clear; even told him to give me a call when he got home & we could plan something else (he never did).

    I tried to make up for it the following weekend, and now everytime I ask him to get together he is either too busy and can’t or I get a reluctant “yes but can’t stay long”. Its now been 2 months since we’ve seen each other, and we’ve talked very sparingly by my initiation.

    Did I mess up somewhere, or is this his way of showing he’s lost interest? He never does alternate plans anymore if I suggest something & he can’t make it. He will talk to me if I initiate communication but if I don’t, we don’t talk. I’m busy a lot too but it doesn’t keep me from wanting to talk to him or try to see him. How should I be handling this situation?

    • James Bauer said:

      Yeah, unfortunately it seems he has lost interest for the time being. It may not be you though. It may be that he has lost interest due to decreased energy available for dating at the moment, or being overly worked, or depressed, or who knows what. I would suggest you leave communication lines open, but take some time to pursue other relationships for two months. If he has not initiated something by then, you might just call him for no reason other than just to talk and see how he has been doing. See if you can learn what has been on his mind and keeping him busy.

      • Lina said:

        Thanks James. Are you suggesting that I not contact him for two months & see if he initiates anything, or continue to keep that door open by reaching out to him like I’ve been doing, but give up if he doesn’t initiate things by that time frame? I feel like instead of flat out asking him what his plans are or just asking if he wants to do something, I should just ask when he’s free again and tell him I’d love to see him or something along those lines. Would that be pointless? Seeing as that its already kinda obvious that I still want to see him. I don’t want it to push him further away though. I am talking to other guys but I’m always thinking about him or missing him in little ways.

        • James Bauer said:

          It sounds to me like you have a pretty good grasp of the risks and benefits of the various directions you could take. Keep the balanced pursuit principle in mind. To answer your question, try to “show up” in his life in any way you can without “pursuing.” Be warm and open, but yes, don’t let him drag you into a position that doesn’t work well for relationships anyway (one way pursuit). Turn your energy elsewhere after two months (without burning your bridges) if he does not show reciprocal interest/pursuit. Your chances with him (and any man) are better when you are living full steam ahead while putting out lots of invitations to get to know men on a personal level.

        • sbsuz said:

          Lina, I left u a little (little?) reply after i read your letter…hope you are ok…

          • Lina said:

            Thanks Suz, I hadn’t noticed! I’m gonna read it in a sec. I’m doing well though, thank you 🙂

  8. Flo said:

    I failed this time around! Stupidly..I knew the best way but decided to act differently this time by following what a friend was telling me..a girl who doesn’t know anything about dating. I really admire and love this girl but I should not always follow what others mention..sometimes I should stick to my instincts and trust them. And now he is gone. But I know in advance that he wasn’t worth it because he initiated the 1st date and postponed it 2 times. Second time not mentioning another date as I was leaving for 3 weeks.when I came back and asked if he was available that week..he said next week should be better because it was a hectic week and then didn’t call. Now that Im writing this and look back I really see that I should have waited for him to set a date the third time ( if he even had the intention) as he hadnt mentioned seeing me after I come back..but my friend told me that I should just let him know that Im back in town (which was not even necessary). Anyway, that’s rude of him to be stringing me along, these “polite” manners of not wanting to hurt someone are just so annoying,low..blah. I didnt call him either. NEXT!
    Thanks for reminding me of romantic tension and confirming it for me! Somehow I forgot. Best Regards.

  9. sbsuz said:

    This is for Lina: Lina, I dated a guy exactly like you described (could it be?! lol)….Being the strong pro-active woman that I am- after a few weeks when I noticed he started tapering off his “getting together” w/me, I decided to take matters into my own hands & pursue him, as u are doing now…I thought it was working but I was also getting the same responses you are getting- He went from wanting to see me “like crazy” to just a “texting relationship”!! I got depressed, pursued more, became assertive & asked him out etc, but found out he was now pursuing another woman! Looking back I now see clear-as-day that it was only the PURSUIT of “getting me” (& bragging to his friends) that excited him and once we had a few dates…*POOF* he was basically gone. Like you I was the only one keeping in contact- unless of course he was bored, horny, etc., otherwise, he had “gotten me” & game over! I then found out later that this was this guys M.O.- “Pursue, Charm, Kiss, Lie to, then Move on”… (rinse, repeat, rinse repeat…lol). Lose him – For your own sanity!!! lol…IF he really likes you (which, btw I’m sure he DOES, but this may just be his little game), he will contact you and want to take you out on a date…(not just meet up at the beach…lol)…
    Do not contact him & when he contacts you (which he will, because he’ll suddenly miss u pursuing him), act bored & don’t get too excited…and let him make a plan! Do not suggest anything or suggest getting together…LET HIM DO ALL THE WORK! This type of guy needs this. Make him work for u then you’ll know if he’s really in it for YOU or the chase….Hope that helps?!!! mmmmmm………

    • Lina said:

      Thanks Suz! I hadn’t really given that a second thought. Usually when I face a guy disappearing on me, he won’t reciprocate when I initiate contact with him. For instance, the last guy I went out before this one (probably like a month before) had been asking me out and had been trying to make me see that he was genuinely interested in me for months, but I never took him seriously, especially since we only had social media contact & he lived states away (we know each other from high school, but he moved away for grad school). He was home for the holidays and insisted he really wanted to take me out and show me he wasn’t about games, blah blah. We went out alright. Text up a good bit before we went out too; didn’t see fit to call him b/c he should have been calling me if he was so serious. The days after we went out (no funny business involved, so it wasn’t a “he got the goods and ran” scenario) he wouldn’t text me back! Until one day, instead of saying “hey whats up” or whatever, I said “This loser….” and he responded “huh?” lol Once I broke the ice with that and proceeded with the usual, he didn’t say anything. Luckily I didn’t like him and it was only one date, but I hate when people waste my time. I never bothered contacting him again. Remaining friends after that is definitely out of the question.

      Thanks again! I hope it’s just that this guy is ridiculously busy. I did talk to him about a week or so ago (I called but he didn’t call me back until the next day). We had a nice little awkward chat but I didn’t have the guts to ask him if he wanted to get together since most of our convo revolved around how busy we’d both been & like I said, there was a touch of awkwardness there. He thought I was calling for a specific reason (which I was…but ya know lol) but I just told him I wanted to catch up b/c I had been so busy & hadn’t been able to talk to anyone much lately. It was the truth, plus I don’t think me saying I missed him was gonna do much good.

      I hate this. I just want it to go back to how things were before.


  10. sbsuz said:

    Thanks James for ALL your great advice- It’s REALLY helped me out this past year!!

  11. Christina said:

    thank you Bro. James.
    you are really helping us to control our mind and make our relationship more strong. now, i knew that we must not very fast in building relationship but we also need to make the another person to realize our need in their life. thanks once again.

  12. Tanya said:

    I have a situation/question. I was communicating with a guy on an online dating site about 3 years ago. He was currently on a 7 day per week contract job for several months but happened to get rained out one day so we decided to meet while we had the chance. Chemistry was great and mutual attraction was there. We had dinner and conversation, parted with a hug and a promise to get together again as soon as his contract was up in 6 months.

    Well, I wasn’t on a contract myself and had time to date others so I did. The other guy still kept in touch with me on occasion but not terribly frequently. I ended up meeting a guy that asked me for a relationship. I told him I’d let him know my answer that Sunday – but I had really already made up my mind I was going to say yes.

    That very weekend right before I said yes to my future bf, I received a text from the other guy letting me know his contract had just ended and he wanted to go out with me again. I REALLY liked this guy. So I told him that I would go out with him BUT that I had already made up my mind to proceed with a relationship and I was going to give that a shot. I told him it was his decision whether or not he wanted to proceed with the date anyway. He decided to proceed.

    We went out with his group of close friends he calls his brothers. He said he wanted them to meet me and me to meet them. We had a great time. I hit it off with everyone and they seemed to like me too. My date tried to talk me into a relationship with him the entire night so I wouldn’t commit to the other guy. Since I had already gone out with the other guy so many times and knew he treated me well, I didn’t want to take that chance. After all, more time with this guy and we may not even like each other. I didn’t want to take that risk.

    My date was actually understanding about this and told me to let him know if my situation changed.

    I was with my bf for 1.5 years after that date. I heard from that guy several times during my relationship asking if I was available again yet. He always told me to let him know.

    I broke it off with my bf about 3-4 weeks ago. I contacted this other guy to let him know. His first question was asking me if I was ready to move to Nashville. I joked that I thought he’d be moving to my town. He responded that he wouldn’t be against that. We set a date for the next weekend. I was so excited that I was getting to see him again after so long.

    Well, after a few days later, I realized I had a prior commitment that weekend. I texted him to let him know I had to cancel for that weekend but I was available the next – and told him to just let me know when he was available again and we’d go from there.

    He responded “Ok I will do that”. For some reason, that stung me lol I didn’t know how in the world to respond, so I just let it be. I didn’t respond to that text and I haven’t heard from him since. It’s been 2 weeks.

    He seemed very interested in me so I have no clue what happened. I don’t believe he’d be upset with me for having to cancel but I don’t know what else it could be. Perhaps I should have responded to his text with at least something. Have I waited too long or not long enough to touch base with him? Does his reaction to my canceling our date seem to be a loss of interest? Any suggestions? It’s really difficult for me to find a guy I’m half way interested in. I hate letting this one go but will if I need to. Thanks for any help!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Tanya. Here’s my impression of the situation after reading your thoughts on the matter. He bent himself into all kinds of contortions of patience in an effort to show you he was serious about you. If you keep doing that without reward, you will eventually feel you are just being strung along as a back-up plan. I really believe in this situation it would have to be a funeral or something of that level of seriousness to break a date with him after putting him off for over a year. He most likely assumed someone else asked you out and you figured you could let him wait till later again. This would really sting a man’s ego…so much that he likely will not pursue you further. I advise that you call him up and offer several options for when you could meet with him, apologize for having to break the earlier plans, and tell him you will be as flexible as needed to make a time work. This is a way of balancing the pursuit. He has done all the pursuing so far. It’s your turn to pursue him a bit.


      • Tanya said:

        Thanks so much, James. I’ve wanted so badly to contact him but didn’t want it to appear that I was chasing him. I appreciate your advice and manly insight!

        • Tanya said:

          Just an update. It appears I must have blown it for good. Texted him yesterday telling him I was really looking forward to seeing him again and reminded him that I was still here and to let me know when he was available again. He’s always been quick to respond and I haven’t received a reply at all. Such a shame but oh well. I guess I’ll just have to call this a lesson learned! Thank you again for your advice nonetheless 🙂

      • bellabruna said:

        James, what if we read the situation another way? He wanted her when he couldn’t have her, and then when he could have her, he lost interest. Classic psychology, right? Some men are mostly interested in knowing they can have you if they want; they are not really ready for a relationship.

        • Vicky said:

          Great point. I suppose if she reciprocated some of the interest the guy would vanish. Which is a good outcome if it happened before the relationship got too serious.

  13. NCA said:

    Dear James, thank you so much for your tips.

    But I have a question, why if you are too shy? or are not used to being flirty? how do you overcome that or do this kind of thing without looking awkward?

    • James Bauer said:

      Excellent question. Being shy or having social anxiety is really about a genetic temperament. However, despite its genetic origin, you can gradually decrease its control over your behavior. This is accomplished through nothing more than practice and gradual exposure to your fear…along with the right attitude.

      The only attitude that works for overcoming anxiety and self-consciousness is one of acceptance. For in-depth learning on this topic, I recommend you read at least one of the books about a form of cognitive therapy you can use on yourself with a workbook. The form of self-help cognitive therapy I am referring to is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for anxiety. There are several books on ACT, but I recommend you find one that targets anxiety. It will teach you how to gradually change the internal mental landscape that holds us back.

      Also, remember that it is okay to be shy. There are many ways you can show interest and pursue him back without doing anything extraverted.

  14. As a female ,do u think it is right to date a guy who is 5 years my junior?

    • James Bauer said:

      Yes. I cannot think of any moral reason you should not, so long as he is an adult.

  15. Vicky said:

    Another very interesting, thought provoking article. Although I so disagree with it… Maybe it’s just me, but I totally go for authentic, spontaneous interactions and am put off when I sense something is “engineered” be it romantic tension or polarity-based attraction.
    I guess we’re all different. I’ve been pursued by a guy just like in your story, and the relationship lasted almost 6 years (for some it is a short one indeed). It went badly because it was superficial, focused on sexual attraction but ignoring our emotional and spiritual needs.

  16. Cindy said:

    Really good stuff here thanks so much…

  17. L said:

    Hi James, thank you for the very informative articles. It’s very insightful. I was wondering what advice you have for a situation I am in.
    I was casually dating a gentlemen for about 3-4 months. Although he has been separated for 2 years, he was just finalizing his divorce which I understand brings up a lot of emotions. We were communicating constantly and then he just pulled back and I left it for a few weeks. Sent him a text asking how he was doing and we started discussing what happened. He said he ran cause he was scared of his feelings about me. That he liked me and wanted more and that scared him. I said I understood and he’s dealing with a lot. It was left at him flirting a little and me asking if it would be better if I didn’t contact him. He said we can stay in touch ;), if that’s what I wanted. I told him he obviously crossed my mind and I thought about him and genuinely cared regardless as to the outcome. He replied with I know I’ve thought about you to. I thanked him and it has been left at that.
    So my question is how to handle someone that thinks he has nothing to offer or give and when push comes to shove needs time to figure things out. This seems to have become somewhat of a pattern and although I understand, there seems to be a lot of confusion. He has stated that he ran because he knew I wanted more. I was fine with what I was getting so I’m unclear as to where he is coming from. He says he adores me but his actions do not support this…am I giving him to much lee way? I’ve never dealt with someone and their emotions of a divorce.
    Any advice you have would be appreciated…

    • James Bauer said:

      There are a lot of possibilities here. One is that he is being fully honest with you. If that’s the case, he is not ready for the kind of relationship he finds himself wanting as he spends more time with you. He may be projecting his feeling on you a bit, and assuming you want more. But it seems from your message that he is right in assuming that, even though you say you are okay with just being relaxed about things for now. If he needs space and time to settle down his emotions after the divorce, give him that space. Otherwise he will continually feel the need to run from you. Give him space and he may start pursuing you more…though likely sporadically at first.

      • Elena said:

        I’m going through something similar to L except we’re long distance.

        My guy (who I’ve been with for about 8 months or so) is also recently divorced and I’m not sure if his actions are due to him being afraid of us getting more serious or if he’s playing games with me. We actually had a brief relationship years ago before either of us got engaged/married to other people. The reason behind our spilt then was because he was always so busy and basically left it in my hands to contact him all of the time and I got tired of it. Beyond the initial approach from him, he never really fulfilled his pursuit.

        We never actually dated because his work schedule and my school schedule were so opposite but he always gave the excuse of being busy when it came to contacting me. He always insisted that he wanted to be with me and even gushed about how great of a wife I would be one day; the only complications were his work schedule and a few dating restrictions I had at the time (I was in my early college days w/ a tight parental leash, and he was a few years older and had already graduated) The final straw back then came when he disappeared for 2 months out of the blue with no explanation, until I messaged him online stating that I didn’t understand what or why things were happening the way they were. Even then, he insisted that I call him instead of calling me himself to explain things. Which….I never got an exact answer until we gave it a try this second time around. He also wanted me to move out of state with him, but we didn’t have a sturdy relationship for me to trust uprooting my lift for him.

        In the years since I told him I was done with him, he has always reached out to me to get in contact with me. When I got engaged, when he was about to marry, when they were expecting their 1st kid, when my engagement ended, etc, he was always reaching out to me and telling me to call him or text him. This most recent contact (seeing each other in person after almost 6 years) revealed that he was recently divorced (some months to a year I believe) and he still had feelings for me and wanted me back.

        As you could imagine, I was extremely hesitant to begin things with him again simply because of how he handled things the last time and didn’t appear to be serious then. He attested that the beginning of his career got in the way but I feel as though he could have done way better with his communication before he moved. We’ve been together since last summer and things are exactly how they were years ago. It’s a constant battle to get him to call me; initially, he would do it, but would always have to go within 5 mins of being on the phone which irritated the heck out of me. He came to visit every month which was a plus but it was rarely more than a day, and if he were here longer he always had work to do and I wouldn’t get to see him before he left. He doesn’t do anything romantic; my birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day have all passed since we’ve been together and he has done nothing. He didn’t even visit the month of my birthday, which crushed me. He said he had a lot going on with work and the custody battle with his daughter, which I was under the impression was over.

        I’ve tried to break things off with him on several occasions this go-around, and each time (save for the time his ex pissed him off and I got the residual anger) he tells me to be patient with him. A month or so ago, I had a big issue with him not calling me and being there for me when my dad had been ill and back & forth to the hospital, and he asked that I continue to be patient with him, stating that the custody thing with his child would be over in May and things at work would calm down soon. Well….he got a new job, which was a pretty big move for his career, so work is not calming down anytime soon. He didn’t even tell me about it; I found out by fluke when I was asking about plans he had to come visit when he told me he couldn’t make it anymore. He didn’t even see fit for me to come visit for his celebration that he & his friends put together to celebrate his new job. He told me he would be with his frat brothers that night and it wouldn’t be fair to me, it was a frat event…blah blah bull. But then…proceeded to ask me the day before the event if I was still coming so that he could make accommodations. Needless to say, I didn’t go. Unless he comes here anytime soon (which I doubt) the next time I’ll see him would be next month when he gets his new place (his choice, not mine)

        I can understand its a lot going on with getting the job of his dreams, and whatever is going on with his custody battle, but why keep me hanging by a thread? I’ve given him an out several times and he won’t accept it. He claims to love me, still even talks about marrying me, but he’s not giving me the time of day. Literally. He doesn’t really include me in his life and its a struggle to get him to contact me outside of the short texts he sends when I contact him. He never answers when I call him or bother to call me back unless I basically threaten to be done with him. He used to at least randomly say “I love you” or “I miss you”, but I don’t even get those anymore. Don’t get me started on asking him to video chat.

        I care about him & love him, and am glad to have this second chance with him but his actions show everything except love & respect for me and our relationship. I feel like I’m stuck in a time warp and I’m dealing with the 18/19 yr old me and 25/26 yr old him again. I’m figuring I should just back off and not worry about visiting next month and wait to see if he was sincere about having everything together by May and giving our relationship the time and attention it deserves.

        Whenever I voice my concerns it always ends with his “Just be patient with me” response, and I’m tired of sounding like a broken record. Should I just disappear and see if he bothers contacting me? Every time I’ve tried to implement a break/break-up, he says “no, just be patient”. I’ve told him on several ocassions that he doesn’t seem to have time to be in a relationship, and he swears he does but he is not showing it. I’m really stressed out about this. I’m tired of playing this game with him.

        • James Bauer said:

          I think you are right. You need to back off and see if he pursues you at all. Actions speak louder than words, and his actions suggest he takes his relationship with you for granted.

          He needs to start working on elevating the priority of his relationship with you. Because people often run when they feel someone wants more of their time than they have to offer, you sometimes need to pull away before you discover whether he has a desire to pursue you that has never emerged because he’s always on the side of trying to protect his time.

          Tell him the truth. You love him, but he’s going to have to pursue you if he wants to spend time with you and prevent you from spending time seeking out interaction with other people.

      • L said:

        Thank you for your view. It definitely puts things in perspective for me. I do believe he is being honest and want to ensure I don’t crowd or smoother him. I can see he is struggling and has to deal with this before moving forward. I’ve been send the occasional light text which he responds to to ensure he understands that I am still thinking about him. Usually just something silly to make him smile. Maybe the best action is for me to not contact him at all?
        Again, thank you. Sometimes it helps to have someone confirm what we already know. Your time responding is extremely appreciated.

      • Grace said:

        Thanks James for another great article. I wish I had read this a year ago …. My ex broke up with me a few days before Xmas after dating for 11 months.

        We met January last year. He was very into me, said he wanted to pursue a long term exclusive relationship with me on our 3rd date. He would text me daily, called me at least once a week and we saw each other once or twice a week.

        Despite being consistent with the above, I noticed after the second week that he had up and down mood swings, was sending mixed messages (hot and cold) when we caught up (not when on the phone or texting though .. he was always upbeat & engaging).
        This created a lot of confusion, anxiety and fear in me so I made the mistake of asking him questions regularly during the first 5 months. His answer was always that he was being cautious, didn’t want to rush into things due to his marriage that lasted 1 year (with a then 1 year-old son). They moved in together, proposed and got pregnant less than 6 months after they met.

        At the time we met he had just been denied access to his son, was facing police investigations with allegations by his wife (of which he was cleared), had to go through psychiatric assessments due to his wife claiming he was an unfit father.

        After a few months of this and dealing with the lawyer and court he got his son back, but continued to have to go through the court to obtain longer visitation hours etc.

        From the 6th month of our relationship on his attitude and behaviour towards me grew less interested and even cold. His daily contact and 2 -3 times per week catch-ups continued though and said he liked me, enjoyed my company. Mixed messages continued (when I was unwell or felt down he would be attentive and caring).

        He suddenly pulled away with minimal contact and made excuses to avoid seeing me for 2 weeks in December. Then called to break up saying that he would’ve wanted to make our relationship more permanent, had been looking for ‘this thing’ between us that would’ve enabled him to do so for the past several months but couldn’t find it (and he didn’t know why he was stuck).

        I think that was just an excuse right (as he showed that he had felt ‘this thing’ for the first 5 months) ? My questions and insecurities must have put too much pressure on him and caused him to withdraw.

        If I had known (read your article then) I would not have asked him questions and pushed him .. and would’ve been happy to have a light and easy / casual relationship. Even though he said he was looking for and wanted a partner ‘whom he could come home to’ his actions showed he wasn’t ready.

        I’d like your advice as to what I can do to re-start a relationship that’s just light and casual, as he’s now starting to go through the process of financial settlement prior to divorce.

        During the break-up he said he wanted us to stay friends. He sent a text a few days after xmas to ask how my xmas was. Since then haven’t heard from him.

        Should I contact him and suggest re-trying something casual or is it too late ? He’s possibly seeing someone now as I know there was a woman who was pursuing him when we were together.

        Or should I just text or call him like a friend to just stay in touch and suggest having coffee sometimes ? We live 40 minutes apart and he has his son on weekends so he doesn’t really have time to catch up unless he is really keen in catching up with me. How do I make him interested in meeting up ?

        • James Bauer said:

          Hi Grace. For a more detailed response, submit your question to one of the relationship coaches. I’ll just make one comment here. Your description suggests he was not ready for the deep relationship he tried to pursue with you. He was not emotionally stable enough and had too many stressors going on during that year of hot and cold pursuit. I think you know that, but i am just reinforcing what you seem to now perceive.

          It may not be in your best interest to pursue a relationship with him, but if you do want to give him another chance, the best way is to keep lines of communication open. Just texting is best for now. That will eventually open an opportunity for connecting in person if he has any interest at all. In the meantime I suggest you refocus your relationship energy elsewhere.


          • Grace said:

            Thank you so much James, for your advice. I feel sad as he’s a great guy … but your opinion has validated my worst fears. I really appreciate your great work in helping us.

  18. Leanne said:


    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Leanne. It seems to me that you did everything just right. I can see why this would spark a lot of anxiety for you if you want to get back together with him, but so far you’ve done the right thing in creating balanced pursuit.

      In a few days, you could send him a message that just updates him on some random thoughts you’re having, or send a question about how his day is going. Then you have reached out to him once, and he has reached out to you once. The ball will be back in his court. He may or may not pursue anything further. Try to make yourself okay with that by not putting all your eggs in one basket, especially with someone who has been out of touch with you for so long.

  19. thanks,this makes more sense,it gives the essence being more practical to achieve ,more than figure out yourself,evette boco

  20. mieska said:

    HI …
    Just went through a very dissapointing situation with a man who was pursuing me … and then when he did he wanted actually only to be Friends and even get into a working situation with me .As he said he wasnt ready for a relationship… after a month he met someone and said it was just another friend with the same musical interest … but he continued our friendhip relationship and also introduced his 2 sons … then all of a sudden after we were working on something together he said we should take some time for doing our own things and then see if his situation workwise and financialy would improve we could find a way to see eachtother more often … I found out through Facebook that the other woman all of a sudden claimed she was in a realtionship … and then even put pictures of them together … so I asked him first what was up … and he said nothing I dont want a relationship with anyone … but then I started doubting after I asked him a second time .. so I asked her ! and she admitted that they were madly in love and a couple but didnt want to tell me not to hurt me ! because he talked always so highly about me !! well now …I was very hurt but knowing I can handle it better … I also told him I need time but would stay his friend once I got over it ! I think this relationship will not last withher … but then wonder if he comes back to me what should I do …??? or should I completely forget as he is probably ot into me anyway … thanks !

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Mieska. While I am never in favor of burning bridges unnecessarily, I don’t believe it would be in the best interest of your overall quality of life to try to be friends with him right now. Keep the doors of communication open and don’t harden your heart against him, but don’t wait around for him or try to be friends with him. He has a right to pursue who he chooses, but you have the right (and need) to focus your relationship efforts on someone who sees you as the one person they want to be with.

  21. Tiff said:

    Now I get the picture. It was all my fault!! He was the only one pursuing all this time..without me returning the affection!! I expected Him to do everything for me..and me not doing anything.Thanks James!! You made it clear for me… I should be participating too, for a balanced relationship.

  22. v said:

    balance is the key…patience and understanding combined with respect…opens the door to trust and gives way to believe in each other, which in return brings honor that instills pride.

  23. MS said:

    This guy sounds like a stalker. He’s a little too interested too quickly. I definitely would not have given out my home phone number

  24. Mel said:

    I was seeing someone who’d I’d dated back in college (20 yrs ago). We reconnected via FB. He and I live 6 hours apart so it was a lot of telephone calls and trips to see one another. I really liked him…I always had. He came on strong and called me every night. We had great conversations and chemistry together. However, I got fearful because I liked him so much. I worried about all the “what ifs” and in the end, he left. I have come to realize through a lot of reading that I was needy and that repels. At first I sent those emotional letters thinking he just needed to hear how I felt, but of course that didn’t work. One day I saw, on FB, that he was seeing someone else. I couldn’t take that and so, for my own well being, I unfriended him and had only contacted him to say Happy Birthday every year.
    Recently, about a month ago, he contacted a mutual friend, and asked her if he thought I would meet up with him. He was having training in a city close by and thought we might have drinks. I thought about it and the next day I texted him and said I didn’t know if I could meet him bc it was the middle of the week, but if he wanted to talk he could call me that evening. Well, he did call and we talked a lot. He asked about my life and how I was doing. I was positive, telling him how well I was doing. He asked if I was seeing someone. I said no, but was just dating people here and there. he went on to tell me about a woman he had been seeing for the last 2 yrs and how he’d broken up with her. Later, he brought our past relationship up and said he’d felt he’d had to leave because I was “uptight.” He said he had tried to get me to loosen up, but didn’t work. He even said, “I am not a hugger and I hugged you while you slept one night.” I was so surprised that he brought that up. I hadn’t known that. I told him that I realized that I had been reserved and fearful and that if he’d left because of that, then he had done the right thing. I told him our relationship and breakup had taught me many lessons. Now I was not fearful when dating men and that I had learned how to just be myself without worrying if they were gonna leave bc I now knew I was the one who was seeing if they were right for ME. It helped me to relax when I kept that in mind. I knew I was worth it and although I wasn’t right for him, I would be for someone else. We ended our conversation on a good note.
    I had missed him and so the next day I texted him asking if he still wanted to meet for drinks. He said, sure and dinner would be better. I drove over to his hotel and we had a nice dinner downstairs in the restaurant. We talked about his kids, his family, his job and how things were going there. He asked me more about what was going with me and my family. We shared food and joked around. At the end of the night he walked me to my car, we hugged and that was that.
    Here’s where I think I went wrong, I texted him to say I had had a great time and to have a safe trip back, then 5 days later (he hadn’t texted me anymore) I AGN, texted him. He texted me back a brief message. It sounded polite. I got the message and texted him that I understood he was not wanting me contact him and that that was fine. I told him how I had felt about how i’d been in love with him back then and that’s why I got fearful. I was afraid to lose him, but reiterated that It was a good learning tool for me and understood why he’d left. I told him I hoped that he was well and that his mom (who has cancer) would recover soon.
    Now that I’ve read about men and understand better how they think, I can see I should have just played it cool and NOT contacted him after dinner…or even gone to dinner after we’d spoken.
    Here’s what I want to know James, do I have a chance with him at all? I have not contacted him for a month 1/2. What do I do…if anything? I really like this man, even this many years later. I’m still confused by the phone conversation and him telling me about his ex, our past and then him mentioning holding me?
    If there is anything you can do to enlighten me, I would appreciate your thoughts even if it’s not what I am hoping to hear. I respect your opinion as the professional.

  25. Evetah said:

    Am so glad i came across your advice James .am so loving these moments cause i am also facing problems with my bofriend ,

  26. Maame said:

    Hi James please help me out with this. I’m in my early 20’s and I’m dating this guy who is about 6 years older than me. We started dating recently. He’s caring and loving. He’s a serious person and wants commitment but sometimes I’m not too sure of him because he’s the out-going type of person, chilling with friends, going to the pub and sometimes club. He tells me anytime he’s going to the pub but he knows I don’t like that idea but he still goes. I’m not that kind of person too. I’m kind of the opposite of him but I like him anyways.He’s open to me and all that but I don’t like the fact that he likes having fun too much. I’m not so sure of his spiritual life too. He’s a good guy though but I always think of the other side and it’s like my parents don’t really like the idea that the two of us roll together, maybe because of the kind of friends he has. A few friends who know him well too told me to be careful of him. I really like him but the thought of us being together for life sometimes scares me because I’ve always wanted a man who is God-fearing, cool, kinda like me. I’ve never thought of marrying someone who likes having fun too much but he’s that type and I like him too.He shows concern about my life and he’s serious about our future. I don’t mind an out-going type who’s spiritual life is strong. But with my issue I’m not so sure. I don’t want to hurt his feelings too but I’m not sure if we can go far. What do I do? Should I hold on to him? Please help.

    • James Bauer said:

      Good questions. I’m glad you are asking the hard questions now rather than later.

      Here’s what I suggest. Open a conversation with him about your differences. See if he notices them too. There is often more going on inside a person (both spiritually and in terms of their hopes, fears, and desires) than what is apparent on the outside.

  27. Esther said:

    it’s good and incorporates everyone involved in different categories of love affair. keep it up so that who are willing to listen will listen and take action.

  28. Tee said:

    I have been texting a guy for over 4 months. The first 3 weeks were intense. We saw each other 8 times. Then bam! Some mistakes. First I invited him to my son’s party. Bad move #1. Then I realized he was actively using the dating site we met on and I said something about it. #2! This became a downward spiral. Arguing all the time. Took a week break. Then I needed his help with something and asked him. That connected us again. He wanted to be friends with benefits with it open to see where it goes, however free to date others. I actually argued thinking he would then make more plans and would fall in love. Wrong. I got fed up and broke it all off and was talking to someone else. Four days later he contacts me and we start talking again. Said he was sorry still wants to be friends and wish I felt different. A week after that I did say I wanted to get out if he had any free time and he takes me to lunch, saying he didn’t want me to think he only wants sex. It was the nicest date of talking and laughing. But now again here I sit. He is still on the dating site, and from what I see he is looking, possibly chatting, but don’t know if he is dating. He texts “good morning” every day but usually that is it. How do you do any of these tips if you never have a chance? Is there a way to bring them in in a text?

    • James Bauer said:

      The ideas presented here would have been useful when you first started dating. Unfortunately, your circumstances have changed in a way that makes these tips less applicable now. If you’d like individual feedback that goes beyond the issues discussed in this post (what to do now), please submit your question to one of the Be Irresistible professional relationship coaches. You can see the options for that here. They can give you a more thorough answer than what I can get into here on the blog.

    • Ali said:

      Wow, I had a situation that is almost identical.. ..weird!

  29. 007 said:


    Thank you so much for your insightful books and articles. They are like a lifeline sometimes. Here is my situation. I meet a great guy on a Christian dating site. We hit it off great! Texted and talked on the phone for several months. He was upfront with me that he had met an older woman that he was “friends” with and just didn’t know which way to turn. I told him to pursue her and I would go away and date others. He said that he was connected to me in such a way that he did not want to lose my friendship. I committed myself to being his friend. He asked that I would pray for God to give him an answer. Well… I’ve been hitting the floor every morning praying with him and for him for four months. We finally met in person before the holidays. There is definitely some romantic tension between us . Even some sexual tension. Nothing disrespectful happened, but we were very close. We met again in public. Had a good time. Parted with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Next time we met, I initiated the meeting and he agreed. He needed to return a Christmas gift I gave him. He was in a hurry to get to his sister’s to eat. I felt that he had been pulling away some. Not as many text or phone calls. We met briefly. I asked him if he was mad at me about something and he said “no”, that he was extremely busy. And I knew he was.His young son was changing schools in another parish, he was struggling financially after his divorce, and loaded with guilt over his part in his failed marriage. I tried to help him as much as possible and maybe I tried too much. I realize that now. When we parted the last time he told me he was going bowling the next night with family. Then they were celebrating the holidays the next day. I wished him a good time. The next day I encouraged him to have fun and enjoy his family and friends. That night by accident I saw on Facebook where he was bowling with the other woman. Hurt my feelings. I felt that I was the back up girl. I knew about her. He had told me. But she knows nothing about me. I told him I could not be “the other woman”. I would not be the closet girl that he kept hidden. It was not fair to me or the other lady. He had told me a couple of months earlier that he thought he may need some time to be by himself. That he was good at messing up relationships and he didn’t want to lose me as a friend. So we didn’t text or communicate for nearly a week. Then I texted a brief apology. He texted back that he was not upset, but all he could be was friends. I accepted that. Then I didn’t communicate for a week. He texted me and I responded briefly. I then texted him the next day and he responded. Not heard from him for a couple of days. I am giving him space. I don’t want to push or crowd. I’m moving on to other friendships and possibilities. I still miss his closeness. And I’m still praying for him. Is there any hope for me with him? Or have I sabotaged any future? I just always felt that I was not being included in his life. Did I expect too much too soon? Should I initiate any further contact? If so, in what way? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    • James Bauer said:

      I’m glad my home study materials have been helpful for you. For lengthy contextual questions like this one, please submit your question to our relationship coaches so they can give thoughtful consideration before replying.

  30. Zoë said:

    I don’t completely agree with this, yes romantic tension is important, but not necessarily at the very beginning, sometimes when there’s an abundance from both parties in the beginning (love at first sight?) it burns out after a little while and then it can turn out that as a couple you were never really suitable. For instance I’ve been in a relationship now for nearly two years, but when he first approached me I felt nothing, was completely disinterested and dismissed him as a potential suitor. He persisted, did all the chasing and eventually I started chatting with him purely as a friend because my sister told me he was a nice bloke, as it happens we had a lot of common interests and opinions and get on very well. The more we talked and laughed together the more fond I grew of him, but still only as a friend, he continued to pursue something more with me and after around a couple of months I relented, I wasn’t seeing anyone and considered a casual relationship with him would be a pleasant distraction, and when his infatuation had been sated he’d be able to move on. As it turns out, his feelings for me went much deeper than that, gradually my feelings for him deepened and that romantic tension grew between us, and I began to love him in return, and I think maybe our relationship is stronger for that, for having allowed it time to mature. To think of the wonderful man I now have in my life, but nearly missed out on, because I was also looking for that initial chemistry.
    I’m not saying that having that tension there from the beginning means I think the relationship will fizzle out, or that it will always build over time when it’s not present to begin with, I’m just saying don’t necessarily rule someone out when you don’t instantly feel it, is all. 🙂

  31. Emotions said:

    How can a woman attract men like flies but she cannot find one that want to be in a committed relationship with her? I feel like men either always tell me they want to be friends,do not want a relationship, or they end pursuing other women. I am an attractive female. Not skinny not fat . men have told me I am attractive but they have also told me I am”unique”,, do not know what I want, want too much too soon,insecure,..etc. Is there something that I might be doing that turns men off? They also tell me I am a good girl..maybe the one. It’s confusing. I have only had two serious relationships in my 30years. The first relationship the guy was in the process of getting divorced but he didn’t tell me until like a month later. About a year into our long distance relationship he was moving to be closer to a so called “friend”. But claimed he didn’t know he was going to be stationed in the same town. I broke things off and he was with the friend for two months. I was crazy about him. My first love but guess it wasn’t meant to be. Second relationship was abusive. Very bad. And everything in between no one wanted a relationship.
    Some days I am depressed. I have a lot of negative thoughts. I see a lot of single guys I feel I would make a great match for but I have no hope any more that I can be in a healthy loving relationship. The last guy started off as a friend. He initiated conversation after we left the gym. He was in a baby mama drama situation at the time but he made it seem he was single. But anyways we kept I’m contact no dates.. No hanging out until months later we hung out one night and it was fun. Like two friends that knew each other in another life. We talk about anything. He’s passionate and stubborn it makes me laugh..he kissed me one night and we started hooking up. It felt like more. But then he made it clear he doesn’t want a relationship but might be ready later this year when he has a few things sorted out. Things were OK but my insecurities seem to get the best of me. I was feeling used and wanted a relationship.
    Lately he mentioned an ex coming back in town and invited him to her birthday party so I broke things off. Well he was shocked but I couldn’t understand why. And why he wanted to make me so jealous. He said my ex calls me all the time why cant he hang with his ex. I stopped communicating as much. ..i hate drama. He would question if I am sure about us being done. He says strange things like am I in love with him he knows I am. Do u think it’s because I wasn’t feeding his ego and admitted that I love him that’s why he tried to make me jealous? I mean he said he doesn’t want a relationship so I really didn’t care how he was feeling. How can a man that does not love or care for me have so much emotions? Hes a Leo by the way and I am cancer..he likes control and I am

  32. Melissa said:

    Perfect timing !
    In person, I can feel the tug and play with all my sensrs. Email, texting befuddles me.
    Maybe I need nuances. Maybe it happens anyway.
    He says he Really! Wants me to write as much/orfen as possible. He responds with omg! Girl, I cannot wait to meet you in person. I feel so connected.
    I am ready to meet. Then frustration of schedules and who calls who. Feels like things are unraveling.u
    Waiting. Feeling crazy.

  33. Goefaone Jacob said:

    Thank you James. please help me. I have been in a relationship with this guy for more than a year and we have a child together. i have never had a real family when i grew up and now I thought we could have a real family and he said he felt the same way. But now it seems as if our relationship has become dull and there is no romance whatsoever. i tried to explain to him that our relationship needs re-candling but he still takes me for granted, feels as if I am the only one who sees that we going for the fall. I feel like I am now a nuisance to him and an annoyance, what do I do, I don’t want to leave him for the sake of our family but my feelings for him are dead!?

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a good question. And it’s one I’ve received many times before. So I actually wrote a mini-course specifically on that topic. You can access it for free if you’re a part of our Irresistible Insiders club. Otherwise it’s just a small fee to access the one report. It’s called, How to Get Him to Cherish Your Relationship.

      • Lana. said:

        Hi James,
        I’d like to get this report, and I will for my own purposes. In my situation the guy is saying that he Is cherishing our relationship verbally, but in reality he is doing only what is good for him, and not listening what I am asking him to do for our relationship. I need to meet my needs in relationship too, but how to address it properly to this guy? He becomes very resentful and pulling away, when I am trying to start an open discussion. Is any tips for me that you have? How to start an open dialogue, is the guy is not opening with me?
        Thank you for your wise guidance for all of us here.

  34. Rayan Ahmed said:

    Hello James
    I got a private consultation they advised me to read the book relationship rewrite in order to
    Fix the relationship I finished reading the book and I enjoyed every single piece of information in the addition technique I’m just wondering if I can apply share goal technique he was my consultant he used to say he cares about my career and the company goals as well now there is event coming to the company called the world sight day can I take this opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas about it although I’m outside the company but this the time that the company start preparing although he has his seperate work but I’m just saying it’s could be a an example of sharing goal together or not please advise

    • James Bauer said:

      I think that could work. It’s all about how you phrase it. Don’t phrase it as advice. Explore the possibilities together. Make it a “you and me exploring these possibilities together” sort of conversation.

      • Rayan Ahmed said:

        Your talking About to use to goal technique and I applied the problem is he is becoming very negative in his advise recently I think he disappointed because I resigned I don’t know if that would change if I show that I care about the company and we can both work toward this goal because in the private business he gives negative feedback

      • Rayan said:

        Hello James I tried the goal technique as you mentioned but it didn’t work I said I have new idea about doing the world sight day we can work together via message but I didn’t recieve any email what does that mean I assume it’s similar goals since he was helping the company that I used to work for but he has his own business lately he told me he is very busy doing his own business but they are still consult him so what I’m suppose to do

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