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Ask Dr Gilda-She’s Sick Of Initiating Things


One woman is dating again after a difficult divorce. Her problem: she’s always the one to initiate contact! Should she wait for the man to take charge or maintain the status quo? Dr. Gilda offers advice.

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
After a long and hard divorce, I’ve been dating a guy for about three weeks now. We seem very compatible and I enjoy talking to him and being in his company. The problem I’m having is that the first communication of the day always seems to come from me. Should I stop texting him or calling him and let him contact me first? If I text him, he’ll
This is the time when expectations are set in place.
text me back and it starts a conversation between us and then he’ll usually call me, but I’m always the one that initiates it. What should I do? He says he really likes me, but I don’t want to seem desperate.
– Ina the Initiator

Hi, Initiating Ina,
In the dating duet, be sure you’re not angling for the job of Chief Communications Officer! Since you’re new to the singles scene, learn now that it’s not your job to singlehandedly keep in touch with all prospective beaus. Do you think men are too digitally challenged to find you by themselves? Give these guys some credit! As my Gilda-Gram says, “Impatient love accelerates its delay.”

What if this man doesn’t initiate contact and you don’t hear from him — for a while, or at all? What would be your loss? After only three weeks of communication, the two of you are first learning each other’s information exchange patterns. This is the time when expectations are set in place. Be careful not to lay any groundwork you already dislike, because these early moves can determine how a “date” will treat you if he becomes your “mate.” By always being the aggressor, you “tell” this potential lover not to pursue you, since you’ll quickly pick up his slack. The problem is that you’re already unhappy with this setup!

Men are hunters. What’s the good of knowing this fact if we don’t apply it to our dating lives? Sure, a guy adores a woman who lets him know that he’s special. Both genders benefit from being stroked. But many of my male clients complain that after awhile, they feel smothered by their women. So admittedly, it’s a strange dance: at the start, a woman can communicate she cares, but she can’t communicate she cares too much! Is this playing games? What do you think?

As a social scientist, I assess pop-culture trends and make recommendations for healthy moves amongst them. When asked about the best dating strategies, I tell everyone to avoid any antics. In my book, Don’t Bet on the Prince! I recommend that women invest their passions back into their own lives. The
You’re a freshman now, preparing to go to grad school.
hunter increasingly appreciates the prize he’s working to win, while a woman who enriches herself is truly a prize! Certainly, contact this guy occasionally if you’d like to do so. But your number-one priority — especially post-divorce — should always be YOU. Self-caring women quash any notion of appearing “desperate,” which is the quality you say you fear.

Although you won’t earn three credits for this course, dating is a subject you must study, practice, and ultimately can pass if you want to graduate to the level of a committed, loving relationship. Answers about who should make the first move will unfold organically when you feel secure in your own skin and comfortable about sharing the feelings that are rightfully yours.

This is what I suggest you do immediately:
  1. Become a man-magnet. Consider this wondrous time your “adventure in love networking.”
  2. Accept dates with guys you wouldn’t think are your type. This is part of your new education, and it is a required course you may not like at first. (Ironically, aren’t our most difficult courses the ones that teach us the most?)
  3. Instead of worrying about dialing your date’s digits, take the time to enhance your personal skills. A great catch is worthy of great pursuit!
You’re a freshman now, preparing to go to grad school. Savor each step of the journey. While you take your advanced studies seriously, take nothing beyond that to heart. This way, as others play their games, you will confidently define yourself beyond their scoreboards. What you will be doing instead is developing YOURSELF, on your own terms. A worthy man will appreciate that once you’re ready to let one into your heart!


Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., gives Instant Advice throughout the world via Skype, email and phone. She is the 30-Second Therapist for Today.com. Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website at (DrGilda.com).
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