How To Discuss Where the Relationship Is Going

Discussing the RelationshipHow can you have “the talk” about where the relationship is going without creating a negative experience?

First of all, you should. You absolutely should talk about where the relationship is going.

People often joke that men always bolt when women try to have a talk about commitment. However, this isn’t true. The truth is that most men who are emotionally mature enough to be worth your time will be glad to share expectations and hopes about the relationship.

You will get a quality guy when you help men to self-select (or unselect themselves). You can do this by courageously pursuing interactions that work well with quality men.

In other words, if you demand quality from a guy, he will either rise to the challenge (what quality men do) or act like you are demanding something unreasonable (what emotionally immature men do). Keep this in mind before discussing the relationship.

Yes, you will likely end up sifting through more potential partners this way, but in the end you will have wasted far less time (because you avoid long relationships that are going nowhere).

For now, allow me to offer you two pieces of advice that can be quite useful if you’re going to attempt “the talk” with a guy you’ve been seeing.

1. Approach the discussion while in a positive mood state before discussing the relationship. Talk about what you do want rather than what you don’t want.discussing the relationship
2. Don’t expect him to be on the same page with you when discussing the relationship. Don’t let yourself get caught off guard by this. The simple fact is, men have a different timeline in their mind when it comes to relationships and commitment. At the point when you are thinking some sort of unspoken relationship has formed, he would be surprised to learn you already think of your interactions as “a relationship.”

Negativity and mismatched mental timelines for relationships often combine in a problematic way. The difference between your assumptions about the stage of the relationship and his assumptions about the relationship can create arguments (negativity). This creates a negative experience for men.

They walk away from the relationship because it creates a negative emotional experience. Men end up feeling blamed or disrespected for reasons they don’t understand. This can sometimes destroy a relationship before it even had a chance to get going.

So if you’re ready to talk about where things are going, let all expectations go and approach the discussion as nothing more than a short, considerate explanation of a few things you are hoping to find in a good relationship.

James Bauer

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85 thoughts on “How To Discuss Where the Relationship Is Going

  1. Mimi said:

    The topic of being friends but sexual involved comes to mind.We do everything couples do without the title.He tried dating other women then comes back to me when it doesn’t work out.I feel it is because he still has some playing to do.Its obvious we have strong feelings for each other we have been talking on and off for four years.We have met each others friends,kids and some family memebers.Maybe shouldn’t say we but just stating what each of us has did together.Will this ever turn into a real relationship?I don’t want to apply pressure and go with the flow.We just started back talking after ten months apart our longest ever.HELP.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Mimi. This is a good question with a fairly complicated answer. I address the ways you can get a man to commit using standards that do not pressure him (but rather alert him to his choices) in one of the training briefs that comes with the “What Men Secretly Want” course available on our catalog here.

      • Ampa Sopin said:

        Hi I hope have someone good heart and good man

    • Barbara said:

      Four years? You have deprived some wonderful guy (worthy of you and your love) out there the privilege of being with you for four years? You sound–forgive my honesty–so needy : / …Take two glasses of self esteem and call JBauer in the morning?

    • susan said:

      Truly u guys love each other but his problem is solely commitment which he’s scared of. And going with the flow you make him feel it’s alright with you when it’s not. And he knows there is something special about you that makes him come back, or maybe your the plan B, if his priorities aren’t in line with yours, it’s either you move on or make the best outta d flow

    • Vicki said:

      I suggest something between you let him know his choices (like James said), and an ultimatum. Tell him that if he leaves you again there is no coming back, not even as just a friend, that you have feelings and they are being hurt. If he ends up leaving again than he is not what you want anyway, do not accept him back when he comes again!

  2. shan said:

    That is an interesting view – that men have different timelines for relationships than women. I am a woman and on a few occasions when I was dating in my twenties and early thirties, had the experience of men wanting to get serious in the relationship soon – sooner than I was ready. They were the ones to bring it up. So, I’m not quite sure that the “norm” is that women are always the ones to want to get serious sooner…I have not had that experience. I am currently married to one of those men.

    • James Bauer said:

      Interesting comments, Shan. The “norm” is that men want to take the commitment aspect slowly, but the norm just means “most” and certainly not all. There are always people who do not fit the “average” mold and there will always be people who experience statistically unlikely events like you have.

      • The norm also seems to be that men want to get sexually intimate before women are emotionally ready, or before the men are seeking commitment. It’s important to know clearly what you want before becoming lovers. It’s often recommended to stay away from full sexual involvement until you know him well enough to know if YOU want to go exclusive with him; if he won’t wait, he may not be for you, unless you truly only want a roll in the hay.
        We women have more power than we sometimes think. We are always free to walk away if our needs are not being met. We do well to learn our own emotional management.

        • lealie said:

          Oh so true. At the time of my current involvement my mind set was to create my own “stable of stallions” so to speak. Well one in particular has touched me deeply and doesn’t want commitment. He did lie on his profile of wanting a relationship. So now we’re at the zero sum part and I’m dealing with the emotional roller coaster of prying myself out of it. Back to the horses.

        • Melanie said:

          Well said, Rosie. It’s been my experience men believe in the “3 date rule”, but women may not be ready after just 3 dates. When I am ready for sexual intimacy, it’s because I want to be exclusive with this guy and I state that. I also state I expect him to be exclusive and if he balks at that, then I let him go. I’m looking for a long term monogamous relationship, not a “fling”. Been there, done that.

      • Janine Kedian said:

        I am from South Africa, and although I wanted to buy your course, I can’t seem to do it from here. I have an interesting question though, on the timeline theory. I couple of months back I met a man who wanted a relationship almost immediately. Now, not being so young anymore and bitten a few times, I went in, what I shall call “panic mode”. I thought it was way too fast, not what I wanted at the time, pushed into something I didn’t really want at the time. I was not willing to get out from behind my wall and open my heart just yet. I shot him down on several occasions, telling him he pushed me into a relationship I didn’t want. Yet, he stuck around and I still see him every day. We chat every day, although not as often as we used to. (Which, to a point, I found irritating, because my work all but consumed my life). Somewhere between though, and I suppose because he stuck around through all my cold shoulder, I did open my heart. I am now ready for a relationship with this man. Problem is, I now told him so and he does not seem as eager as I thought he would be. He now wants to take it slowly and one day at a time. Because I neglected him to work so often, he started chatting up other women and pulling away from me. I think it is a bit irrational on my part to now be a little jealous of the attention he is giving his chat buddies, as I wasn’t really giving him attention. It is still me that he comes to every day and that he spends most of his free time with. Is it now safe to assume that he somehow still loves me and that he is just worried that I might change my mind and push him away again? Or did I really push him too far away to ever get him to say he loves me, if he still does? He remains considerate in all aspects, and would do something I need doing but can’t do myself, immediately before going about his own things. Tonight, for instance, he had to attend a meeting, but my geyser broke and I have no hot water. He put a tremendous amount of time and effort into making sure that I will be able to have a hot bath before he left…

        • James Bauer said:

          Hi Janine. There is a chance that he may have different feelings about you now because of the experience of being “shot down.” We enter relationships because of the way they make us feel about ourselves (in addition to the love we feel for the other person). It may be that he feels a little bit less like a desirable man in your presence because of his past experience with you. That can shut down a person’s excitement about a relationship.

          But that does not mean there’s no hope. The solution is to change the way he feels in your presence. Focus on the interpersonal experience he has with you. How does he want to perceive himself in the context of a romance? Does he want to feel desirable? Does he want to seem like a capable leader? It seems that his acts of service for you would suggest he does want that kind of self-perception. Build on that. Encourage it. Then give the romance time to flourish.

  3. Joan said:

    I believe the “norm” is that women want to know where a dating situation is going because they are often faced with assertive men who want the “relationship” to be a sexually physical one too soon. As the “stats” seem to go, men are often not as selective in who they sleep with……(although it is always more exciting if she is very attractive)…… because of so called genes that have carried over from pre-historic times. These scientific facts seem to indicate that the male brain alone seeks change and variety…..although I suspect many women would dispute this as modern life has evolved and women have more choices, too. So it is reasonable and smart that a woman would want to discuss and understand more about her date before proceeding further should she be interested in a long term, mature relationship. A woman uses the “relationship” information to make smart choices should she decide to continue dating a man. I have found that it is interesting that men often rush to judgement that women quickly fall “in love” or want a committment from them sooner than the men do, I guess it’s the male ego!) when it is often NOT the case…,.but then again, it is correct in many instances especiallly if a woman is in the phase of her life when she wants to marry and start a family. I also think what might be helpful here is that you more clearly define the term “relationship”…..I guess when you write about it as a relationship coach, you mean “relationship” as in a romantic one? Actually, as women, we have many types of relationships…….friends, family, children, business associates, neighbors and romantic ones….and it means “relating” to another human being and it doesn’t necessarily mean narrowing in too soon where his commitment level is. It takes time to get to know someone. I do want to say, though, that your articles are insightful, James, and very good for helping to bridge the male/female relationship gaps. Thanks!

    • Yes! good point, I have found men seem to think I want a relationship- when really I my just taking a look see to see if they are what I’m looking for.
      I think it does have something to do with the male ego.

      • I’ve had some men start with the relationship talk stuff early on – to be honest I see it as a red flag. They are just saying things they thing I want to hear. They just want to waste my time with serial monogamy in exchange for sex.
        Trying to get my message across to one hard headed man, I point blank told him I need a “relationship” like I need a hole in my head, right now.

  4. Gloria said:

    I am a widowed woman of 59 yrs.old. I recently started seeing a 59 yr. old divorcee. He works away but is home for the weekend.we live In rural towns 20 mins. apart. He calls me on tues. and on his way home he has started to stop in on his way home for the weekend ..for sex!! Then if he has no plans with his grown children he will call me up to spend some time fishing or some outdoors activity which I enjoy, he has never mentioned dating exclusively, he has a good job and is ready to retire next year and has made the comment to me that he wasn’t looking for anyone beta cause he was happy the way his life was going..but now he says he was lonesome..I do enjoy spending time together, and I know that I need to live for the present and not always focus on the future..tell me what you think about our “relationship”.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Gloria. I think the quality of your relationship depends on whether you are enjoying his company and feeling cherished and respected in all of these various forms of interaction. Relationships tend to follow fewer standards or “rules” so to speak for people in your situation and age range. After reading your message I found myself wondering if perhaps there was a bit of guilt or something. Do you need to give yourself permission to go ahead with this new relationship? Perhaps you should think about what you would really like when it comes to relationships and then evaluate whether this man is meeting your needs and expectations. If not, don’t be afraid to set boundaries and tell him what you want and need if things are to move forward.

  5. Gloria said:

    Thanks for your advice..perhaps deep down I really don’t want a serious relationship yet..there have been a few times when I have talked about my spouse to my “friend” and explained that we really loved each other..he said he understood and told me that it didn’t bother him .i don’t ever call him, he is the one to ask or set things up..maybe I’m too willing to be around when he asks me out! Sometimes I wonder if all this is really worth it! We’ve been seen each other for only 2 mths. What to do??

    • James Bauer said:

      Yeah, it sounds like you are not looking for a serious relationship. In that case, spend some time thinking about what you DO want. You cannot work toward a healthy relationship that meets your needs when you have not yet taken the time to figure out what your needs are at this point in your life. Spend some time thinking about it. Journaling really helps with this kind of thing.

  6. Selinia said:

    I’ve been seeing a guy since January. He was fresh out of a divorce and I was very hesitant about going out with him but he was very persistent we started dating for a couple months then he had more divorce stuff come up here was happy in a hard time with so he asked for space and time to take care of these things. I had become very attracted to him by this time so it hurt. I started dating other people for a couple months, then one night he came to the restaurant where I work part time and wanted to talk. So we kinda started seeing each other again but online at his time and my house. I found out he was on match and seeing other people, so it made me feel stupid. I have not stopped dating other people and told him I couldn’t just do all this again. So two days ago he came over and said he was ready to be in a relationship with me.. Am I supposed to just jump or what? I still very much care for him but I’m afraid he will just disappear again. Please help.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Selinia. There are some ways to approach this that are less “all or nothing.” I believe you have the right to ask him to approach you with persistence because of your fears of being dropped suddenly again. If you communicate this carefully and with compassion, he will have a choice. He can either pursue you over time, recognizing the need to build a measure of trust with you, or he can go look for someone else if all he wants is a quick fix to temporary feelings of loneliness.

  7. tk said:

    Im also in a tricky situation here. I am 32 and had a relationship of 14 years with my ex-boyfriend, engagement and all that. Last year we broke up, of course some things still hurt but I know that eventually I will get better. It has been already one year, I worked extensively on myself, on forgiving things, etc and I thought I would be ready for a relationship. I had a few dates, but no one that really interested me in a long run. Recently I met a guy from a dating site, he does not live in the same city as me, but we talk for hours and had a lot of fun together. The chemistry is amazing and we already spent 3 whole weekends with each other, which is a lot considering that we have known each other for 1.5 months. The problem is he is 36, never had a serious relationship (the longest was 14 months) and one of these people that REALLY need some space after a while (I guess this can also be explained by the fact that this guy has always been alone, more or less). He seems to be alternating between hot and cold towards me and what really bothers me is that a few days after he left he logged in the dating site. It really makes me upset because at the same time that he seems confortable and happy when he is with me he is still looking for something else. How should I approach this?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hello, tk. In this situation, I think it would be best for you to do very little to pursue a relationship with him. Give him the space he seems to need and see if his interest in finding a life partner is strong enough for him to seek you out and pursue things further. If not, he is not ready for a committed relationship, so it would be a waste of your time and energy to pursue him. If he does pursue you, he will be showing a motivation and willingness that means you should give him more time and practice with unlearning his bachelor lifestyle.

  8. Maria said:

    Hello James.. I am wondering if you can give me some advice. I met someone on-line. We went out and although I was hesitant, he pursued me completely and tirelessly to the point where he convinced me that we should be together. We were together, in an exclusive relationship, for 3 months. He pushed the relationship forward the entire time. He asked me out, called me, texted me, brought me flowers, took me out. Then asked me to be his girlfriend. He deleted his dating profiles once we started being exclusive, introduced me to his friends and family, including his children. We talked about moving in together, engagement, and marriage. He was the one who brought up all of those topics. He made me a key to his apartment – without me asking for it. One week after giving me a key to his place, he broke up with me. IT has been about 3 weeks since the break-up. We have seen each other once – because I wanted to talk about what happened. We exchanged a few text messages, all initiated by me. I want him back and I don’t know how to go about it. We have both been single for 3 years. We both dated, but getting together with each other was our 1st actual exclusive relationship. He told me that he thought he was ready for a relationship, but he isn’t – he isn’t ready to give up his freedom, or be accountable to anyone. I am extremely hurt because he was the one that pursued me, convinced me to trust him, and he was the one that pushed the relationship forward in terms of the seriousness level, then just broke it off. is there a chance for a real relationship here? How do I get him back? I feel like I said one wrong thing, it reminded him of his bad marriage (he was married for 10 years, then divorced, single for 3 years when I met him), and everything got out of hand…

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi, Maria. I am sorry to hear about this painful situation. If you are right (meaning he is over-reacting to a psychological trigger of past pain) you should stick around and wait for the fear-based thinking to ebb in his mind. Give him some time and space to feel your absence, but at the same time try to reach out to him once per week or twice per week in a non-invasive way. Be patient and present the way he was with you in the beginning. If nothing changes automatically within 5 weeks, write him a letter describing how your heart became attached to him and what you think the future could be like for the two of you. This is a start that will hopefully get you moving in the right direction. Winning an ex-back can be a complicated process. It can be done.

    • Hadassah said:

      Wow, Maria, your situation sounds a little similiar to mine. How are you guys doing now?

    • Lana said:

      Hi Maria,

      If It was you, I would start with returning his apartment key and saying that you both are Not ready for the relationship. You have to be able to give up this relationship, not just faking it, he will feel your willingness to move on and would be able to realize, if he wants you back. If it is just you who want it back, it is not enough. He also has to realize it, or let you go. Otherwise you will end up by chasing him again and again.
      I understand how hard it is for you to go through it now.

  9. rana said:

    I’v was seeing this guy back in january for a couple months I was very reluctant to go out with him becasue he was fresh out of a divorce, he convinced me that he was ready for a relationship, so I stopped seeing the other guy I was dating and a after that he disappered. I was confused and devistated. I started seeing a new guy and as soon as I was over him and moved on and started dating a new guy he has reapeared again, he always wins me back and now that I have stoped seeing the other guy for him he has stopped texting and calling, even after he told me a couple weeks ago he was ready to date me and for me to mat his children we went out with all his friends which he never wanted to do before. I am so confused, I invited him to do things this past weekend and he declined. I want to tell him I’m done, but am having a hard with how to do it. I truly know he is no good for me. But my heart wants to be with him, I’ve never been this needy. I’m usually very good at saying how I feel, but when I’m around him I feel so silly when I talk to him about us. He has had a very hard time with his divorce. I feel bad for him in that situation and she screws with his head all the time. Am I wasting my time? I feel like I’m chasing someone, and that’s not like me at all.

  10. J said:

    Hi James,

    This came to me with perfect timing, as this is the stage I am at. We are long distance and have been seeing each other for 6 months. We talk every day, see each other when I return (monthly) & have been intimate. The last time I was there he introduced me to his 8y/o son. I really enjoy being with him and feel myself falling for him.

    I’ve been trying to figure out what to say to understand what he wants & see what he thinks about “where this is going”, without sounding needy or as if I am pressuring him.

    What is a good way to open that conversation without pushing him away?


    • James Bauer said:

      Hello, J. Keep it short and focus on explaining what you hope to find in the future. If he reciprocates, that’s great! If not, let it go for now as six months may not be long enough for him to feel he knows for sure if he is ready to promise you his future. As I said in the article: “if you’re ready to talk about where things are going, let all expectations go and approach the discussion as nothing more than a short, considerate explanation of a few things you are hoping to find in a good relationship.” After doing that, just be friendly and relaxed. Don’t sit in silence as if waiting for him to do the same. Just let him process that. He might reciprocate with his own thoughts days or even weeks later. If things are really enjoyable right now there is no rush.

      • J said:

        Thanks James!
        I’m not jumping that far ahead yet. lol. I’m not trying to get him to promise his future. I just want to know if he is wanting to “keep things casual,” or if he sees me as something more, as we have never talked about anything like that. I don’t want to push him away, but I also want to be with someone who wants more than a casual relationship with me.

        Since we’ve never talked about relationships before, I’m very apprehensive about how to initiate that conversation, or what to say to start it, as we’ve both been divorced. I’m not even sure how he feels about relationships all together.

        I agree, don’t need to hear a definitive answer immediately. But, if I am what he wants, I would at least like to see us progress a little bit.

  11. Elena said:

    Hi James

    I hope you can please give me your advise. I met a guy in a conference a few months ago but we both live in different cities. It was obvious that we like each other and spent the next day of the conference together (meeting up for lunch or during breaks). Since I had one day to spare in his city then we decided to spend some time together. He was sweet, caring and a gentleman with me. He showed me his city and took me to his fav spot, a beautiful look out followed by a nice dinner. We made out but we didn’t have sex that night. The next day I had to return home and he dropped me off to the airport and he told me that he had a wonderful time with me and wanted to get to know me better. He asked me if he could see me again so we talked about him coming up to see me which at that point I was not sure about since I didn’t want a long distance relationship. We kept in touch often for up to a month and then I stopped any contact with him since he postponed his visit due to his work commitments. It was disappointing and I assumed he was just not that into me for not coming up to see me. So we slowly lost contact.

    However, I had to return to his city last weekend for work and a week prior of me coming down I dropped him a short email just saying that I was going to be in his town for work and to let me know if he was free to catch up for coffee. We replied the next day, saying hat he was happy to hear my news and asked me out for dinner and also invited me to go hiking since we both love to be outdoors. We kept in touch everyday prior of me coming down and he planned a beautiful and romantic weekend for us, we went hiking, and showed me where he works etc. We both had a wonderful time together and I slept with him the first night we met up since it felt nice and right. He mentioned that it is sad I have to leave so soon and wish we were living in the same city. This time he didn’t say about meeting up again though so I told him that it’d be nice to meet up again and go hiking again etc which he agreed but he mentioned that he didn’t know when he could afford to take time off since he has deadlines to meet until the end of the month. So he proposed for us to meet up half way through next month. The night I was leaving he gave me a green stone necklace which he said he bought it because he found it to be a very beautiful and unique green stone, and put it on me. He told me that he wanted me to have it so I could think of him.

    He texted me a few times for a few days and last time I have heard from him was 5 days now. I know he is super busy with his work from what I gathered from my visit to his workplace but I think he can surely spare a few minutes to contact me. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so keen on him and be the one having to ask when we will meet again. I am finding it hard not to think that he just wanted a ‘fun’ weekend with me. What should I do? Should I keep waiting until he contacts me?

    Your thoughts and advice would be much appreciated!


    • James Bauer said:

      He Elena. In my training materials I explain the concept of “romantic tension,” which is only possible when there are two people mutually pursuing each other. At this point, you have taken steps to show interest. Now it’s his turn. If he lets the opportunity pass, I would advise you to let him go and seek a man who will take a relationship seriously.

      • Elena said:

        Hi James

        Thank you very much for your response. I totally agree with you. He finally texted a few days ago but I haven’t responded yet and will see what he does next. However, I am very inclined to follow your advise and just let him go with good karma. Simply take this experience as a reminder to keep being strong and never compromise my self-respect again. Thank you very much for your great advice once again. E

        • Lorna (LaLa) said:

          Elena, I would say “do not play silly games”. I know that it is difficult to keep a long-distance thing going, and as you say he is very busy. But he has contacted you again now, and if you just “play it cool” he will think you are not interested – silly games. Men are just as worried, scared and cautious about getting hurt, you know. He gave you a necklace, for goodness sake – what a lovely gesture. Keep the channels of communication open. What have you got to lose by doing that? You have far more to lose if you let him go forever. Sometimes we let our bruised ego get in the way of common sense. Do not do that. Just “Keep Calm and Carry On”, as they say. Good luck!! Lorna

          • Lorna (LaLa) said:

            PS – You say YOU stopped contacting him because he had to cancel coming to see you because of work commitments. A typical case of “bruised ego”. And you are “assuming” and second-guessing what he is thinking. Don’t do it!! You have no idea what he is thinking – do not assume. It seems to me that a lot of the trouble here is your sense of insecurity!! Am I right? If so, work on that! Lorna

  12. Kerrie said:

    Hi James, I Have been reading your comments and think you give some great advice. I have commented on another blog which you have replied to and im thinking hard about my answer. Now in regards to relationship talks.. My ex male 34 scared of commitment which I respect his decision if he wants to be single that is fine, I would never want someone to be with me if their heart is not in it completely.
    The last time we went out on a date I suppose some would call it that was 8 weeks ago..He called me to catch up as he previously told me 3 weeks earlier that we should only be friends. I respected his wished and left him alone. So we went out for the day which quickly turned into night. Like usual we had a great time and time went by easily we talked, laughed, saw some people out that we used to talk to when we were “together’. As it approached dinner time I told him I was going to head home he was having a good time and for him to stay and we would catch up again soon. He then told me he didn’t want me to go he wanted me to stay. I asked him why, he then said I was his ground, his anchor the person he would always come back to. For a women this is quite confusing, I don’t want to be with anyone else and im sure he knows this. Is this his way of telling me to wait for him that he does want a relationship with me but just not right now. Is he playing games by telling me this. He told friends of mine that night he loved me (which he swore them to secrecy) they told him to sort it out. 1 week later I told him not to contact me again which I have previously told you about on another blog (Jana – Planting Seeds). If he commited to me I would take him back in a heartbeat but am I wasting my time and energy. Am I being selfish wanting someone that makes me so happy when we are together, what if he isn’t as happy with me as I am with him. What benifit would he get from faking happiness when we are together, unless he is a narsisist.

  13. Private said:

    My husband and I separated and filed for divorce this year. It is not yet complete (waiting on lawyers) we have come to agreements on everything. We have been together 12 years married 6 and have three children. I was pregnant with our son when the split happened. He is a gamer. He met a 19 year old playing call of duty online. They exchange numbers names and photos the first time they spoke. I told him I was uncomfortable with this and asked that he erase her number. He told me he did, but in actuality he just gave her a male name. They texted inappropriately quite a bit. She also has a long term boyfriend and daughter. Anyway, he moved an hour away and has settled there. I sleep there alot, and we still have a sexual relationship. We have fun together and with our children. But he has a account, and accounts on other fling sites. His family is unaware of our continuing to see one another. He won’t tell me what he is thinking or feeling and I am confused. I am still very much in love with him but I am unsure of things. Is he just using me? Or his nervous, like me to try again cause of the pain we caused on another? I want to stop the divorce and be a family again. How do I do this?

    • James Bauer said:

      It sounds like you have made up your mind that despite his shortcomings, the relationship has more good than bad, and you want to repair it. Here’s what I propose.

      Set some ground rules for a new relationship. Write them down and then do nothing with them for two days as you ponder how those expectations might play out in real life. Adjust as needed based on what insights come up for you. Next, think of the best way you can think of to describe the benefits (for him and you and your kids) of getting back together. Take that and put it in writing in a way that will be appealing to him.

      Now combine the appealing reasons to get back together (first part) and the ground rules that would make it fun for both of you (this will be the second part) and give it to him with a request to respond within two weeks if it is something he would consider. Invite him to offer changes and suggestions at the end of your letter. Then, try not to act “weird” after giving it to him. Just go on like usual. There is a sad possibility that he likes it better the way things are, where he can have fun with you but without a commitment. Make sure he understands that one of the ground rules for repairing the relationship would be exclusivity.

      • Private said:

        Thanks. I know I am taking a chance that things could not go how I would like them too. I will take your suggestions and see hoe it goes. I am hoping he will see that this other girl ,essentially still a teenager has nothing on the women he almost lost…ME 🙂

  14. rose said:

    Hi James,
    I must say i love your comments on this site. Thanks for making us ladies unravel some of the mysteries of men. well am a 28 yr old lady just started seeing this seem to be great guy who is 36 yrs old for just over a month now but am a bit confused about what is between us.i just got out of a 5 yr relationship and looking for a great relationship that would lead to marriage.we have gone out on a couple of dates and he calls me every morning and night and chat throughout the day.

    he has asked me questions about my past relationships and been open about lots of things but when i ask him about his past relationships he tells me he is not ready to talk about it and when the time is right he would let me know everything. At first i took it as just friendship because he talks to me about a lot of things and feels comfortable when around me or when he is down.he likes how i listen to him whenever he wants to talk. but then when he speaks to me he speaks to me like am his wife saying things like so when i get married to you or calls me by his last name telling me how many kids he wants and all that.our conversations are not casual i would say more like personal or like we in a serious relationship we have not been intimate as yet. he has asked me my kind of guy and just few weeks ago he told me he has started back on his weight training exercise since that is the kind of guy i like.and that he is doing that for me.

    well the problem is he hasn’t told me what he wants from me and i do not know how to ask him without being too pushy. so i am taking my time and seeing other people.the other day i went out on another date and when he called me i text-ed him telling him i was out on a date and cannot speak to him right now and the reply i got from him was just ‘OK’.
    The next day was my birthday and not even a hi did i get from him. i sent him a text just checking on him as usual and asked why i did not hear from him on my birthday then next day he calls in the morning apologizing that he actually forgot and mixed up the dates and he would love to make it up to me.he also said the reason he didn’t call that day even though he forgot it was my birthday was because of my text telling him i was out on a date with another guy and that he knows he has no right to be upset and could not express how my going out on other dates made him feel. but the truth he said was that he felt jealous and upset so i asked him why he got upset when it is not like he has asked me to be exclusive with him and his response was well that is true and he does not know how to explain what he felt and how would i feel if i called him up some night and he told me he was on a date.well i made him know i was not happy he did not call on my birthday but i hold no grudges against him.

    we back to same old again just last night he called and told me his mum just came visiting.i could say he spends most of his free time with me either in person or on phone and because of his new job he hardly ever has spare time but once he gets home he is on the phone with me till he i really do not know what this guy wants.i do not want to push him away by asking him directly because he seems like a great guy and i seem to be developing some feelings for him but also i do not want to live in assumptions and stop dating others since my dating others upsets him so i just ignore him and move on with my life seeing others till i find what i am looking for in a relationship? and if he steps up his game well good or or do i ask him what he wants from me if just dating and friendship or if he is interested in a relationship with me and please how do i go about it without spoiling things. i would not mind being in a relationship with him i just feel some guys are complicated .do you think maybe he is a commitment or relationship phobe kind of guy?because he told me the longest relationship he has been on was a year.

    Thank you your thoughts and advice would be much appreciated. looking forward to your candid opinion.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Rose. Assumptions can be dangerous in a relationship with this much intensity. It sounds like he has all kinds of assumptions about you and your mutual future, and you have so little to go on (regarding his past and what this relationship really means to him) that you have no choice but to operate based on vague impressions and assumptions.

      My advice is that you make an attempt to get a better understanding, even if that requires some direct questions. However, the method I suggest you use is one where you start by explaining the basics of the problem you just outlined here in this post. Then tell him you want the relationship to be the best it can be, so you are asking him to seriously consider that the benefits of sharing more about his past and future hopes may outweigh the hardship involved in discussing those topics.

      • Rose said:

        Thank you james.i would do as you advised.

  15. Sue said:

    You say “Talk about what you do want rather than what you don’t want,” but no where do you give any verbal examples of how to say this. Please give a few choice words as an example of what one wants where to even begin!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Sue. Good comment. Here’s an example. Let’s say you want him to be more communicative. When you ask how his day was, he shrugs his shoulders and says, “Fine.” You ask what he did and he says, “Worked.” You feel this is holding you back from a level of intimacy you would like. The way many of us instinctively communicate is, “I wish you would stop giving me one-word answers. You never tell me anything real or substantial and that keeps me out of your life. I feel like you treat me like a stranger.” He gets defensive and shuts down even more. Now let’s look at saying this same thing in terms of what you do want:

      “I’d like to know more about your day. It makes me feel good, kind of connected with you, when you tell me details, even silly stuff that doesn’t matter. Would you be willing to try an experiment with me where you try to tell me two-minutes worth of random details each day after work? I have a feeling you would gradually get used to it and that would make me really happy.”

  16. Nancy said:

    Thank you so much for your advices, James. I am also in the battle of the confusing with the “relationship” that I am in. I also don’t know how to discuss “where are we going” and what the “commitment” means here. Does it just mean ” we are not seeing other people anymore?” or ” marriage?”
    I am 47 and he is 59 (12 years different). We met online about 8 months ago. We saw each other from once a week to two or three times a week. He is a pilot and has an abnormal working schedule. He has never talked about “us”, or ever said ” I like you” or “I am so attracted to you….” something nice like that. Never said anything romantic like “I miss you”, or bought me any gift or even a flower… However, he did took his profile off from the dating site without saying anything….also brought me to meet his adult kids and their spouses, as well as his best friends and their wives. And he told me that all of his friends and their wives like me a lot and told him that I was a keeper….

    So here I am with huge confusion. What his friends told him did not mean that’s what he thinks, am I right? Cause he has never told me how he thinks about me, or us, or our relationship…I don’t even know if we are in a relationship but I do know he is not seeing anyone else (neither do I). I wanted to open my heart for him but I am so afraid to get hurt again. I don’t know what to “ask” or “discuss” with him. Like you said, James, assumption is dangerous. Are we in a commitment relatioship? Or who am I to him? A friend with benefit? a girlfriend? or someone who he wants to have a relationship with? When he introduces me to his friends or whoever, he has never introduced me as his girlfriend but my name.

    P.S. He threw a master degree gratuation dinner to his 24 year old son a week ago. Him, his son, his son’s fiancee, his fiancee’s parents and me. Six of us, had a very expensive dinner (over $1,000 ). It’s a family dinner, he said.

    so….confusing….confusing…please help!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Nancy. This is definitely something you will want to get to the bottom of (and soon). The level of personal information and strategy planning is perfect for the individualized coaching my team of relationship coaches offers, but it’s beyond the scope of what I can offer on this public blog. To learn about the private coaching option, go to the last item at the bottom of the page on our catalog of services, which you can find here.

  17. Hi James,thanks for the advise.I have been into a six years relationship now.In the beginning,,it was easy and normal for us to discuss about commitments and what we wished for the future.Now he doesnt want to talk about anything in relation to i dropped the topic for a longtime.But on the first of Jan,we were having a lovely moment of communication and i took it as an opportunity to ask him what does he think about us(our relationship)as far as the new year was concerned,and all he said was he cant give me an answer and i shouldnt persuade him.I happened to have picked up a job out of town and only come to town on weekends.Now,he is cheating on me with his X who of resent came into town because of work too,accidentally,i have met them twice and he chooses to go with the girl leaving me behind.But yet he denies to me he is not dating the girl.Since he careless about me now,i have given him the space he needs because he does not want to talk about it.Now,we no longer communicate at all.Should i just forget about him and move on,i love him very much and he knows i will always be there for him.This is the more reason i want to be happy and live life like nothing actually happened.In this way i will be able to over come the stress.Some friends say,strike back when the iron is still hot,and some say just let him be,give him the space that he needs and live life normally and be happy.But what if i loose him for
    good-Sir,i need your advise to this

    • James Bauer said:

      HI Fobella. Actions speak louder than words. You have asked him about his intentions for the relationship. But he has shown you his intention. His intention is to pursue the whim of the moment without regard for your emotion, loyalty, or even the basic human decency of letting you know clearly what he wants.

      If you choose to continue a relationship with this man, it would be under those terms. I do not advise it.

  18. Thank you very much James.I just have to let go and move on.Even the bracelet i use to hold on to for our love,disappeared to tin air.During this problem,i held unto the bracelet for courage,i always tell myself that if the bracelet was missing,it means my relationship is ruined,and after six years of holding unto it,i cant find it anywhere,its all indication that i lost him and i must accept defeat.i have to move on.

  19. Dee G. said:

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years now. It’s been a roller coaster dealing with mistrust from both sides, past negative experiences, and exes popping up. We’re at a more calm place in our life now, and are slowly building things back up. He mentioned us possibly moving in together a few times over the last year or so, but hasn’t solidified anything. Now he seems apprehensive about talking about the future. He says he loves me very much, and wants to enjoy our time together. He talks about us traveling together, but not really about us settling down. I feel we both have the same views on education, marriage, and children, so I don’t see why he seems uncomfortable to talk about our relationship? He just turned 30 this year and I turned 28. I’d like to be living together within the next year, and eventually a few years down the road, married. How do I have this talk with him, and really get him to open up. I feel like he only opens up on his terms, and there usually at the most odd times when he catches me off guard. How can I combat the “I don’t want to discuss anything serious right now.”

    • James Bauer said:

      This is a complex issue, Dee. But I’ll give you a starting point. Start discussions that will allow you to learn what fears he has about discussing things. See if you can essentially communicate the fact that you want to know if he feels hesitant to talk about making plans for what the relationship could become in the future. Inviting him to discuss his hesitations will give you insight into what is blocking him or holding him back. Sometimes that discussion causes rapid progress right in the moment. Sometimes it acts more like a seed that brings value later on.


  20. Wilmien said:

    I just recently figured out the different timeline thing,it is quite scary.I used to fall in love like falling off a cliff,wholeheartedly with no strings,must say it mostly gave same results than jumping off a cliff,initial adrennalin followed by blinding pain.I have recently dicided to keep more boundries till I’m more certain of a man’s commitment,not when my heart thinks he is for real but until time has proven this approach legitimate?some men get really offended by it it seems.

    • James Bauer said:

      You get to decide your half of the equation and he decides his. It sounds like this method is within your comfort zone but also a thought-out method for reducing negative experiences while enhancing the positive. It won’t work for every person, but nothing works exactly the same on every single person, so that’s ok.

  21. Heather said:

    I’m not sure how to go forward after a break up that happened this weekend with my boyfriend of 9 and a half years. We still love each other, and our relationship was fun, we had lots of affection, great sex, lots of laughs, talked about everything, we were best friends. But because of the fact that he never lived out of his parents basement (until this year when they kicked him and I out…I was living on the top floor and he in the basement of his parents house after I lost my job a few years ago, up until december 2013 when we had to move out) he has never had to support himself financially, as a man in his early 30s, and it was a big wake up call for him. When we were suddenly forced to leave his parents home, he was jobless (I had since found a new job) and we thought it wouldn’t be prudent to move in together into a small apt we could barely afford. Didn’t want that to be our first living-together experience because we knew we’d be miserable living like that.

    Anyway, after 7-8 months of us living in separate apartments w/ roommates (and me and/or his family helping pay his rent bc I am more gainfully employed), he broke up with me shortly after I booked a vacation for us later this year (he offered to pay for it since we were cancelling but, thankfully I got a full refund). I think me booking the vacation maybe made him think (and he didn’t say this outright) “I should be the one paying rent, booking vacations and supporting her…I can’t even support myself”. When we broke up he told me he realized he has never had to support himself and he needs to do it for himself and needs to be single in order to do it. Because, like most Italian men, they go right from their mothers to their wives who do everything for them, then they wonder why they resent their wives 10 years later bc they (at the time) really were looking for someone to mother them, not to love and respect them and who was the right fit for them. I can understand his position, that at this point it’s hard to know if the love he has for me is due to comfort and all I do for him, or because we are right for each other.

    He said he loves me and he just can’t ignore this instinct that he has to do this now, he didn’t want to continue to “waste” my time only to figure this all out after we got married or something and hurt me even more, he has some unresolved emotional trauma too that he needs to address. I actually think it’s that he needs to feel respected, and perhaps since he hasn’t had to “be a man” and do all for himself, he can’t respect himself or believe that he’s worthy of my respect. The only way he can get that respect is by earning it for himself. Knowing all of this, I feel good about him having the courage to have that conversation with me (bc he could have stayed and said nothing, nothing was “wrong” after all), and know that this is the best thing for both of us (especially because I deserve commitment and I deserve to have the home life that I want, which is to share a space with someone I love, respect and have lots of fun with, and I don’t think I should have to wait much longer for this because I can already support myself, been doing that for years…now I want to go to the next step) and we should focus on ourselves for a while and not distract ourselves with romance…but I am having so much trouble not wishing and hoping that he quickly gets a better job/life for himself and gets on his feet and comes running back to me (because it would break my heart if someone else got to reap the benefits of his personal growth after I spent some difficult times with him). I don’t want to be disappointed if he realizes I’m not right for him. Although I also take peace in the fact that this happening either means if we get back together it will be even more amazing than before, or, we open ourselves up for a new relationship down the line that will be better suited for ourselves because we’ll have done the “work” and know what we really want. Additionally, I now have all this time and space to focus on my career and launch my own business, and make decisions without considering how he fits in, this way I know every choice I make comes from my own heart…and I know that’s the way I will be most successful and happy. And I’ve a LOT to do, so I will be busy, thankfully (or I might be crying nonstop for a year haha) So, I’m excited, because, this will bring amazing things either way, I know this, but have so much fear too!

    We text about once/day just to say hi since this just happened a few days ago, I want to give him his space…but I want to talk to him about this fear I have, but I think if I do it would just muddle his already confused heart and mind.

    James, how can I keep him interested in me, committed to me through this transition without putting pressure on him/guilting him? I want him to want to be with me because his heart is compelled to be with me, not feel obligated to be with me because of our past. And I also need to know how I can be sure that he is sure if he does decide he wants to commit to me? I resolved that I won’t “take him back” unless there are tangible changes in his life, but even if he does make those changes, is there a practical/tanglible way for me to know that he’s not succumbing to lolineness or the comforts of how I “take care” of him? Commitment (or lack of full commitment on his part) has been a recurring theme and I don’t want to enter into a relationship with him or anyone else without it at this point. Should I completely get the idea out of my mind that we could reunite or is this reasonable of me to have this hope?

    Thank you in advance for your help and advice should you share it with me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi! This is a very in-depth question, perfect for the private consultation service available in the new members area. It’s a bit too long for me to address as a blog comment. I love your involvement with the material I post here, but to get a guaranteed response to your personal questions, please use the private consultation service. It’s better for these kinds of questions.

  22. Presh said:

    Hi James. I love this blog and the information shared. I have been with this guy for 6 months and see each other when we can but he has not shown me any signs of commitment yet he always makes time to see me. When we meet we discuss what we been doing in the days we haven’t seen each other and he always tells me about these girls he went out to dinner with or kissed. How will I know what his agenda actually is?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Presh. It sounds like you could use some help with organizing your approach to this man and dating in general. You say he always makes time to see you, yet you believe he has shown you no sign of commitment. I think what you mean is he has not shown interest in an exclusive relationship. In fact, it sounds to me like he is rubbing that fact in your face by telling you about kissing other girls. Do you know what you want? Start there. That’s your foundation. What he wants should not be the foundation of your dating approach. To get more specific advice, send a question to one of our professional dating coaches.

  23. Joanie said:

    Is there still hope if your guy is in a new relationship with some one else? We weren’t officially together but it was going to be official. We were together for about 7 months. Love at first sight. We talked about getting married & know were mend to be together for the rest of our lives. I know some people made trouble (one of them was his mother & friends). They brain washed him about me. My heart is now broken for almost 2 years. I try my very best to get over him each day but without success. 🙁

    Thank you

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Joanie. It’s clear from your question that your heart is really hurting, and I just want to acknowledge that, and say I wish it wasn’t so. When you ask if there is still hope, you are really asking, “should I allow my heart to continue longing for the possibility of reuniting with him?”

      No, you should not. If by some chance he can throw off the influence of family and friends who dissuaded him from continuing his relationship with you, you might have an opportunity to interact with him again someday. But wishing for that to happen will not change the odds in your favor. It will only make it more likely that you miss other opportunities with other men who want to join with you in creating something beautiful.

      If there are practical steps you can take to initiate interaction with him again, do that so that propinquity is on your side. But either way, I recommend against chasing a man who has willingly walked the other direction.

  24. ANNALIE HOLMES said:

    Hi James. I’ve got a very difficult but serious question for you. November 2013 my partner found out that he’s in the early stages of lung cancer and had 6 radiation and 2 massive chemo treatments. By grace he is now in remission and all is well except that his libido or sexual drive basically disappeared. In the last 6 months we had sex once! We love each other and the sex was always excellent. He assures me that he loves me but he doesn’t like to discuss the issue and while I do understand that this is an after effect of the chemo, feel so alone and do not know how to handle this anymore. Please give me some advise!!!

    • James Bauer said:

      A drop in libido can take the fun out of sex, but it can’t prevent you from working at meeting your partner’s needs if you are both willing to be creative and adjust to the fact that things are physically different for him right now. He has been through a lot, and that deserves sensitivity, but you are a part of this relationship too so you have a right to openly discuss ways to meet your needs regardless of whether sexuality is also currently one of his needs. It goes the same way regardless of gender. If you are going to ask someone to be 100% exclusive with you in meeting sexual drive needs, then if one partner has a lower libdo, he or she needs to reach for a compromise in order to be more sexually active than they feel like being.

      Also, there are things his physician may be able to suggest for the two of you (or even just give you a sense of what the timeline and adjustment after chemo has been like for others). Sometimes simple changes like eating more saturated fat can dramatically increase a man’s libido within a few days. I don’t know all the effects of chemo and how extensive, but it’s something you should continue to discuss with your partner.


  25. jo said:

    met my best friend online abour 2 yrs ago, chatted for a yr before even meeting. We ticked every box imaginable for each other but we never crossed any lines until about 6 mths ago. Intimacy happened a few times but i freaked out after a few weeks and said couldnt see him til we got over the need to sleep together. This was because neither of us were in a position mentally to be in a relationship. After a few months we were both at a party and after that back in touch again. Long story short…..few weekends having drinks and then back to the sexual relationship, he then tells me he loves me. I ignore ir because he was drunk. Few days later irs his turn to put the running shoes on again. Anyway last month the cycle began again with a difference….he actually asked if i wld take the risk and go slow and see where things go. due to his past relationships his biggest worry has always been hurting me. Now im back to square one, as again he put his running shoes on and ran for the hills lol. This was down to someone making some kind of comment. He took on board the comment and made the decision to end things completly before he makes a fool of me and hurts me. no contact what so ever. Have no idea how to talk to him as he is being stupid but cant say that as it is how he is feeling. No idea if things should just be left as they are or give him space. The silence and confusion is killin me. It took a lot for both of us to come to the decision of tryn things out due to our pasts. Guess the upshot is i really dont want to lose him, wish he could see what i see in him

  26. Trisha Charles said:

    I was married in 2012 and my husband was left me when I was 2months pregnancy.So now I have 1 child which he is now 1year and 3motnhs.So I decided to get a new husband to help and support me to look after my son..

    I want you to give me more information on how to manage my family to become a good and happy family ever after..

    Much regards…

    Trisha Charles

  27. marge said:

    Hi James: I am a widow for five yrs. and was going with a great christian guy for the last year. He told me that he was still talking to his ex girlfriend that had lived with him until they split up. he started talking about me becoming his girlfriend-=-then his ex found out that things were getting that way, and got his best friend to come my me and ask me what he was doing with me and then went back and told ex and they both sat down with him to persuade him to leave me which he did. She seems to be jealous, needy and controlling and is divorced with one child.he seems to be so unsure of himself. He told me on Easter that he loved me and I had given him cards for special occasions and he said that what was written in them that he felt the same way about me. He already has called me twice and I truly know I do love him. I wd. love to have him back. What can I do? I am trying to stay away for abt. two months –I was bringing him dinners that I cooked for him once a week and was helping him at his store.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Marge. Relationships do happen in a social context, which means we cannot totally disregard the opinion of his close friends or even his ex if she is still a significant part of his social sphere. Nonetheless, it seems supremely unfair that you were completely left out of the discussion process when he made a decision to end what seemed like a good relationship.

      While demanding an explanation would not be the right approach, I wonder if you could expressing this line of reasoning so he can see that he owes you an explanation and an opportunity to voice your own opinions since the relationship involves you more than it does his ex or his best friend who both got a say in the matter.

  28. Nzukie said:

    Hi James I am a widow of about 38 years old, I met a guy last year July and it was wonderful I could feel that he loves me and care about me, I also love him and I enjoy spending time with him. I was irresistible to him, but not any more. Now things are not well and I’m not sure what’s wrong because if I call or text him now he does not answer sometimes, I can feel there is something wrong although when I asked him he said nothing he will just say he was very busy at work. He used to call me almost everyday or make sure that he calls me on the second day but now a week can pass by without a call. please advise me because I still love him how do I approach him so that he can talk, I feel like he does not care about my feelings

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Nzukie. That’s a difficult question to answer without more background information. I would advise you to seek the consultation of one of our relationship coaches so they can get more background information that will be critical to giving you insights regarding possible next steps.

      • Nzukie said:

        Thanks James for your advise I will consult.

  29. Teresa said:

    I been with a guy on and off for the last 7 years! He gets rid of a ex girlfriend then he comes calling and saying he loves me wants to Merry me but then the ex acts like they are still a couple so I walked away cause he wouldn’t give up on talking with her. He got in a new relationship and we ran into each other I love him and he says he loves me and don’t want me to move on that he is gonna get rid of her after the holidays then it’s he is just getting to no her so I’m trying to walk away again but I keep falling for what he tells me. I know he loves me but not sure if I should let him go and move on! I need some advice!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Teresa. Your heart tells you he loves you. I don’t want to dispute what your intuition tells you. Yet his actions tell another story.

      How could he love you, and yet want to be with other women, constantly exploring other relationships?

      I think the answer is that he likes you a lot. But he does not like you more than he likes the freedom of his current lifestyle. He does not love the idea of an exclusive committed relationship with you. His actions have made that clear.

      So unless you also love his current lifestyle, you are likely to find more happiness in the arms of another man.


  30. said:

    I don’t really think you can categorize this subject as what a male does and what a female does. I am a female and the comment, “At the point when you are thinking some sort of unspoken relationship has formed, he would be surprised to learn you already think of your interactions as “a relationship” ” rang true for me but ME being the surprised one that the guy I’m seeing already thinks I am his girlfriend, whereas for me he is a guy I am dating, not a boyfriend. All guys are different and you can’t say that they all act and react the same.

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s right, Kim. These insights are based on what’s most common. But as you correctly point out, there are many exceptions.

  31. tina said:

    There is this guy I was dating. We met in November 2014. Around May 2015 I asked that our relationship be defined but he said time will tell so I stopped seeing him but we continued communicating through social media and text messages. Somehow we started seeing each other but not regularly. In October 2015 he invited me to his house after a period of not seeing each other and I honoured it. February 2016, he asked that we get more intimate sexually but instead I asked that the relationship be defined. He said we are just friends so I stopped seeing him, calling or texting. When he saw I’ve stopped communicating, he called, texted, chatted and I always replied but not telling him why I left. After a period I told him and now he has requested to see me in his house. I have told him I can’t come to his house except he sees me maybe at an eatery or restaurant. What do you think?

    • James Bauer said:

      Good job, Tina. You have done well so far. However, things typically go better in relationships when you are more clear about why you are pulling away, instead of leaving him guessing. Clear boundaries are good. Clear boundaries that are communicated clearly are even better.


  32. C said:

    Hi James
    I met a guy online 3months ago and he is a wonderful 39year old. I am 35. we live at opposite ends of the country and have just met each other once in person. We had a nice date however I was extremely nervous and could hardly keep eye contact. But it was ok and we continued talking and texting daily as normal. He always initiated contact which I loved. He is a very busy farmer and is also shy and quiet. I just noticed in the last week or two that contact has ceased a little and it is me making the initial contact. If I text though, he would ring back etc but he doesnt initiate it anymore. I know he has some family stuff going on and has used the word ‘depressing’ at times too. I don’t want to make excuses for him but i know he wants to take things slow as he said to me a few times ‘we are just still getting to know each other’. I asked him to visit me at this side of the country as it would be more informal and easier than meeting half way again and while he didnt seem scared, perhaps he bawked a little.
    Any advice or comments would be much appreciated.

    • James Bauer said:

      Good question. It sounds like you already have discussed where the relationship is going in a roundabout way. His answer is that he wants to take things slow and discover where it might lead. And that’s okay as long as you’re okay with that.

      I understand why you might want to push the relationship along a little faster. But you’re likely to do the opposite if you actually do try to push things faster. The best way to encourage a relationship like this is to respect the timing of the other person involved. As long as his timing is still within the bounds of an acceptable timeframe for you, everything should work out fine in the end.

      If you feel I’m wrong about this (because you believe he has not actually stated any kind of intention for the relationship), then open the discussion. But just discuss the smallest next step he feels would be right for the two of you. Don’t press to understand his full plan for future events neither of you can fully anticipate at this early stage.


      • C said:

        Hi James

        Thanks so much for the speedy response. You are right, I must respect his timing of things. I will do that. I just hope it is not too late and he doesnt feel i was forceful, as I have not heard from him in 3days now which is quite unusual for him. As I am so busy as well with my thesis I dont have a lot of free time either, so taking our time is fine with me too. I suppose I was so happy to hear from him daily and now that has changed. I will give him space. Thanks so much. I will let you know how/if things pan out 🙂 Much appreciated. C

  33. John said:

    Good evening. I am a 71 widower. I have been in I hope a committed relationship with a women who is 66. She is a divorcee and also was in a long term relationship with someone 13 years younger then herself. She usually brings him up at least once a day. Usually it’s we did this we did that. She said that she wants to go slow with us but is she afraid to commit into this relationship? I would be extactic if she would just start staying over on the weekends. But early on she said it would be her decision as to when she would stay. So is she leary of committing to this or is it me ? With almost 4 months together is it rushing on my part? Thanks for any and all help and ideas. John

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Hi John, I think you will find that divorcees and widows are quite different emotionally. I’ve been told this by a platonic man-friend. I am a divorcee (married almost 40 years and now 69) and must admit I was hurt very badly during my divorce, so that I am now wary about getting involved with men. I would say that four months is long enough to wait to see “where you are going”. Maybe you should try to gently bring up the subject and suggest that she stay over one week-end, but that if she wishes you could sleep in separate bedrooms. Or if it would be easier, go away and stay in a hotel in separate rooms. There has to be a time when you move the relationship forward. However, I can understand you being wary of having this conversation, because you do not want it to go badly and get the answer you do not want to hear. I would say that if she is not happy to have a more intimate relationship with you (and this could mean only having kisses and cuddles – nothing more just yet or possibly never), maybe there is no “chemistry” as far as she is concerned and she is just treating you like a friend and (dare I say it) “using” you to have a good time, in the absence of anyone else. I imagine women can be just as capable of doing this as men. And there are so few men around of our age, that some women will date just for the sake of dating, as they are lonely. However, there could be another reason. Maybe she is very religious and it goes against her morals to stay or sleep with a man outside of marriage. There are probably still a lot of people in this age-group that have these principles. I wonder what other people think. Anyway, whatever the real reason, if you are getting nowhere with her, there certainly are so very many lonely, single women of our age out there, and so very few men of the same age, that I am sure you will have absolutely no trouble at all meeting many, many more. Join some special singles clubs, go hiking or on special singles week-ends, or do some voluntary work. Look it all up on the internet. There is no need to internet-dating, which can be very scary and disappointing – it’s far better to meet people in the flesh first-off. You can still keep her as a friend, if that is what she wants. You don’t owe her any loyalty. Maybe if you let her know that you’re not sitting at home waiting for her to make her mind up, she will realise that she is risking losing you. It’s not fair of her to keep you dangling. She’s not the only fish in the sea. Find someone who WILL love you and make you happy. Happy hunting and best wishes. Lorna

      • John said:

        LaLa: First of thank you for your reply. I was married for 48 years and 4 months. This dating thing is really out of my knowlege. We were separated twice in the first half of our marriage but worked it out both times. I can truthfully say that I never went out on my wife in ou marriage. The women that I am seeing and myself have both discussed marriage down the road and this coming Holiday season I am seriously thinking of giving her an engagement ring. But that will depend on how things have progressed as it will be 9 months we have been seeing each other that is unless everything would all apart before them. I have very strongly hinted that she is more then welcome to spend the night here and as you suggested in separate rooms but alas to no avail. Is it out of the ordinary to just ask her if there is any chemistry on her side? I have started to tell her that I love her and always just get a smile from her. Perhaps she is just not ready to say that to me or like you said just wants a close friend. I will say that we do see each very often at my home if just for a cup of coffe. I will say that I consider myself a gentlemen and I do treat her with kindness, decency and respect. Perhaps I need to be a bit more aggressive with her rather then just good bye and hello kisses. Sorry for going on for this long. John

        • Lorna (LaLa) said:

          Hi John, It’s good to hear back from you and I am sorry that you are feeling so unhappy, anxious and confused about this relationship. Relationships are never easy, and seem to get harder as we get older. I honestly don’t know what to say, as everyone is so different – there could be so many different reasons why she acts the way she does. James would probably say that you really, really need to be honest and open and talk things through with her. It is absolutely no good second-guessing what is in her mind. I don’t think you should be thinking in terms of engagement rings at this stage, as you obviously do not have a strong understanding between you as to where you stand. I think you should continue to see each other, as you are, be patient and see how it pans out. However, as I said in my last reply, I absolutely think you should also be putting yourself in the position of meeting other women, and getting to know them – even just as friends. Do not put all your eggs in one basket with this woman, if she is not showing any interest. Maybe she only wants you as a friend, but you are reading more into it. It is absolutely OK for you to ask how she feels about you – but be prepared for her to say that all she wants is a friend. Maybe you are reading more into your relationship than is actually there, as it is something you really, really want. Be sure that you are not living in a fantasy world – easily done when you feel lonely. I certainly know how that feels!! I still say the best thing is to get out and do more stuff where you are meeting other people, both men and women. That way, you will have a different perspective on your situation with this woman. Best of luck. Lorna

  34. Chandrika Tolia said:

    The writings r very informative and interesting.

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