Dating Advice for Women over 40: I talk, but he doesn’t hear me. What should I do?
I provide all my private coaching clients with a 911 call option so they can call me when they have a quick question or a dating/relationship emergency. “Marla” used this option yesterday when she called me about “Steve”.
Here’s the story:
Marla’s been going out with Steve, once a week for about six weeks.
She’s starting to care for him, but he’s bugging her about rushing the relationship. Apparently, at 46 Steve has decided it’s time for him to get married.
On their third date, he officially informed Marla that he thought she was a likely candidate. Oh goody!
Marla isn’t in any place to go that fast. She has told him that. She recently moved back to the US from London. She has some family issues to resolve, friends to reconnect with, and professional contacts to make.
She also knows that, while sometimes you can both know pretty quickly, this wasn’t one of those times.
When Steve shared his intention, Marla told him directly that she liked spending time with him and wanted to continue to do so. But she was in no position to commit to anything with him.
Not only does she have relatively little time to devote to dating right now, she was not going to focus on one man until she knows him pretty well. (That was something she defined as she wrote her dating rules and boundaries during Step 4 of our coaching process.)
All that meant that it would take time if anything long term was going to develop between them.
She reminded him that she liked him. She asked for his patience.
Good for Marla! She’s a great student. She was true to herself and communicated very clearly what she needed and how she wanted to proceed with their relationship. (If you haven’t already, you should read my prior post about this.)
Steve thinks Marla “is wrong.” That’s what he told her. He thinks she should jump right in like him and “take the risk.” He talks about things like they have a future together. He tries to make plans with her way in advance and mopes when she says she can’t commit.
On many occasions now, Marla has reminded him of the reasons she is proceeding slowly.
Nope, he insists, there is great hope for their relationship and he’s going to proceed accordingly… blah blah blah.
I know what you’re thinking: She needs to dump him! They obviously want different things, and he’s over the top with the rush thing. She should run in the other direction, right?
Absolutely, but your reason for her quick escape is mistaken.
Steve reminds me of this guy I went out with ages ago. We went to the Santa Monica Promenade, took a nice stroll, and then went to this upscale food court.
Guy Who’s Name I Can’t Remember: What do you want to eat?
Me: As I told you on the phone, I’m not too hungry. You go ahead and choose.
GWNICR: Oh no, you must be hungry! Tell me what you want to eat.
Me: Honestly, I’m not hungry. I’ll find something to snack on anywhere you choose.
And on it went until I picked a place that I didn’t even care about.
Now, here’s my question: What about “I’m not hungry, you pick” was he NOT understanding??? H-E-L-L-O! Giant red flag here! I’m an over-40 grownup woman, and I’m not being listened to about where I want to eat?
GWNICR, just like our buddy Steve, simply refused to pay attention to the words coming out of my mouth. I hate that! And I believe this can fairly be extrapolated to:
No honey, I don’t want to spend $1000 for that new stereo system. Oh, trust me. Once we get it, you’ll love it. Where’s the cashier?
No honey, I don’t want to move to Bemidji, Minnesota. Oh, sure you do. I already told my boss we would and called the real estate agent.
No honey, I’m not going to start a new family at this stage of my life. Oh, c’mon. We’ll just have one. Are you ovulating?
I admit that I have this colossal disdain for being ignored. If you want to piss me off, just pretend I’m not talking to you. (Doesn’t take a shrink to figure out that that’s a childhood “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” thing for me, right?)
But dammit, this is complete and utter disrespect coming from your partner. Arrrgggh!
If he’s not going to honor you by considering your needs and opinions about the small stuff, believe me that it will move into the big stuff.
Remember this when he doesn’t hear you:
- If your man wants to please you, he will listen and hear you.
- If he respects you, he will listen to and hear you.
- If he’s a good guy and not a narcissist, he will listen to and hear you.
- If he’s a grownup man, even if you are saying things he doesn’t want to hear, he will listen to and hear you.
You deserve to be heard and respected. Insist on it. Your happiness depends on it.