Should You Keep Trying to Have a Relationship?

keep trying

Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend who appears to not be interested anymore? Should you keep trying? Let these reader questions to our Ask the Dating Coach help you decide.

Should You Keep Trying?

Reader Question

Hi Lori,I have known this girl for about 2 years now. I worked with her a few times but never really had the confidence to talk to her. However, I started talking to her online about 6 months ago and got to know her a lot more. I was nice and honest, and asked her lot of questions about her interests and hobbies. Then I got her phone number after about 2 weeks of talking to her. I eventually asked if she wanted to meet up in town as she just came back from a university for this year. That was 4 months ago… but it still hasn't happened? I have asked again if she still wants to get together and she said she does but that she's busy with work. I want see her, but don't want to get on her nerves and ask 100 times. I found it strange how she seemed really up for it when I first asked and we talked a lot online, but now the chats are really short and she goes offline quick. I don't want to give up trying but do you think I should because she might just get angry with me asking again? Do you think I should let it go or keep asking?

Many Thanks, Steve

Expert Reply

Dear Steve,

Your confusion about whether to keep trying to ask this girl out, based on her saying that she was interested, is a very common theme I hear from daters. Why did he ask for my number if he wasn't going to ask me out? Why did she agree to give me her number if she didn't want to go out with me in the first place? To understand why this communication is so confusing one only needs to look at motive.

For most, at the time that someone asks or suggests going out she or he has good intentions. The person is genuinely interested at that moment. There are many reasons for the lack of follow through. For some, the change of heart is a result of the other person saying or doing something that is a turn-off. As a result, the interest level goes way down. For others, there is a delay in the follow-through and as more time goes by the initial level of interest takes a gradual decline.

For those who accepted an invitation to go out, they too may have initially felt a high level of interest. Then, as they recalled the potential date later, the level of interest has declined or someone more interesting may have come along. When the level of interest declines, the person being asked out does not know what to say and as a result may avoid any type of communication with the person asking them out. The common reason for the avoidance? People don't want to hurt someone's feelings intentionally. What these avoidant people don't realize is that not communicating hurts more than telling someone you don't want to go out with him.

Any one of these may be the reason the girl you are interested in said yes initially; but with so much time having passed, has now had a change of heart. This would also explain why she says that she is busy with work as well as why she hurries to get offline when you are online. All is not lost. The way I see it, you have an opportunity staring you in the face.

Assume that she has lost some interest in getting together. Don't assume you know the reason. To find out why will require some courage on your part. I would suggest that you send her an email. In the email let her know that you are aware that her level of interest may have changed and that might explain why she has not accepted your invitation to get together and why she gets offline quickly. Tell her that you have enjoyed getting to know her and would be willing to "just be friends" and get together as such. If at a future time the level of interest changes for her, you are open to that, however if it does not, you are open to just remaining friends and doing things as friends.

Close your email with asking her to get together with a specific day, time and activity. Then wait to see if your open and honest communication with her is accepted. If you don't hear from her, then move on. This won't be easy, but you will have gained a lot from not having avoided communicating with a potential relationship. If she accepts your proposal then act on it immediately and be glad you had the courage to have open and honest communication

~~Lori

Honest Breakup?

Reader Question

My girlfriend and I had been together for about 8 months and really loved each other and then she called a halt to it. It was all because she had been hurt twice by men in the past and was scared to be hurt again. I never would hurt her and she admits I'm nothing like her exes. She also has a 9 year old daughter. Four months have since past and I can't move on. I don't want to. I love her and I know she wants me. We have remained friends and go out occasionally and stay in contact by phone. What can I do to help her and prove I'm really not like her exes. She split from one ex 3 year ago and from the father of her daughter 6 years ago. I can't give up on her but I really don't know what to do now. We get on great but as soon as I mention things like how everything would work out great between us she goes into her shell and clams up. I'd do anything to make this work but I just don't know what I can do. Any advice for me?~~Dave

Expert Reply

Dear Dave,

I am having doubts that your girlfriend called a halt to your relationship because she had been hurt in previous relationships. For one thing, her words and behavior don't match. The two of you were in a relationship for a while, not to mention that you occasionally go out on dates now. Another indicator that this is not the reason is usually when someone is still grieving a loss or angry over being hurt, their emotional state impacts other relationships. In other words, you would have known whether she was sad or angry because her attitude about dating would have been reflected in her conversations, not to mention that she probably wouldn't be dating to begin with. Given that the two of you got along so well, it is likely that she was not sad or angry. So what might be the reasons she called a halt to the relationship? I can think of three possible explanations.

The first explanation is that the two of you are not experiencing the same level of connection. You have deeper stronger feelings for her. If she cares about you, but is not in love with you, then ending the relationship would make sense. This would also explain why she accepts dates with you and as soon as you start "mentioning things like how everything would work out great between us, she goes into her shell and clams up." If this is the basis for the break up, then the thing to do is to NOT talk about 'how everything would work out great between the two of you.' Although you may feel it to be true, she is not at the same place as you. Thus, your continuous reminding only succeeds in putting a wedge between you. Instead, let your manners, thoughtfulness and having a great time in your company, do the talking. Should her feelings for you change, she'll let you know, so follow her lead.

The second possible rationale for her ending the relationship might be that she doesn't see you as 'long-term' material. If this is the grounds for her calling a halt, then the only way you are going to change her mind is by changing your behavior. In this case, you can only change if you know specifically what the behaviors are that turn her off. This would require you and your girlfriend having an honest talk. To have an honest talk, a certain level of trust between the both of you has to exist.

The final possible explanation for the ending of the relationship may have to do with the relationship between you and your girlfriend's daughter. In your letter, you state how much you care for the mom and mention nothing of the child. As a mom, she has to take into consideration her daughter's feelings as well as the relationship between her daughter and the man the mom is dating. Mom and daughter are a package. If your girlfriend's sense is that you are not interested in or care about her daughter, then ending the relationship would make sense. If this was the reason, then you will need to develop a relationship with both the mom and the daughter.

To find out if one of the three explanations is the 'real' reason for the break-up, you and your girlfriend need to have an honest talk. You can set the stage by starting the conversation with this opener, "I've have been thinking about our relationship and am wondering if there is something I am doing or not doing that is getting in the way of your feelings for me?" Then explore the examples listed above. After each example, listen to what she says. From her response, you'll be able to figure out what is getting in the way of a successful relationship.

~~Lori

Should I Keep Trying

Reader Question

I'm currently involved with someone I met 2 yrs. ago. He's a successful business man so he's very arrogant. Recently he didn't answer my phone call or respond to a text that I gave him. I'm starting to wonder if I should just leave it alone or to try to see what's the problem. I never want to feel like I'm bugging someone. Even though we may only talk every three days or so. If I leave him alone, how do I act around him because he cuts my son's hair every two weeks? -- Contributed by: Candy

Expert Reply

Dear Candy,

No matter how busy a guy is, when he is really truly into a woman he will make time for her. The reason is simple; he fears he may lose her to another guy. When a man is 'too busy' or is 'unresponsive', it's a red flag that his feelings have changed. In a survey, women rated characteristics they find attractive in a man -- topping the list was, a good listener, charming, romantic, good communicator and a sense of humor. Number six on the survey was a hint of arrogance. Why do women all over find arrogance attractive? Because it conveys confidence, strength and the ability to be decisive. Too much of a good thing however, can come across as insensitive, emotionally unavailable and insecure.

In the beginning of a relationship, men are attracted to women who are not readily available. Men like the chase, but they're not alone. All of us place a higher value on things that are hard to get. If you doubt this or think it is just a 'game' of dating consider this, every year there is a toy that tops the holiday list and has parents and other adults behaving badly. Technology will have otherwise reasonable adults standing in line for hours to be the first on the block with the new toy.

Women always ask me, "what should I do if he calls me last minute to go out?" If he is the kind of guy who calls you regularly but feels that since you have been dating for a while, he doesn't have to plan dates like he did in the beginning of the relationship, then it's OK to go out. If you want the romance of planning, talk with him about what you want. Should this be a new relationship and his calling is irregular and inconsistent as is when the two of you get together, then last minute arrangements are a NO!

Stop calling, texting and sending emails to this guy. If he is into you, he will wonder why he hasn't heard from you and he will make a move. If he is 'so busy' he is not that into you. When you see him, be nice and act just like you did before the two of you started a relationship. Sure, it will be awkward, but you can't get mad at a guy just because he doesn't like you as much as you like him.

~~Lori

Should You Keep Trying to Have a Relationship?