DG reader Terri writes:
The middle-aged man I’ve been seeing for a few months is Mr. Spontaneity. He rarely plans anything in his life more than a day in advance, including our getting together. Last week he called me as he was leaving his house — 45-minutes away — and asked if I would have lunch with him. Luckily, I could swing it. I’ve told him I’d like at least a day’s notice, but he doesn’t seem to be able to shift his mind from the here and now. I considered saying “no” to lunch just to show him I’m not always available, but I wanted to see him, and to say no when I was available seemed game playing.
Last night I’d been invited to a small dinner party and invited him to accompany me. I’d told him about it last week and reminded him again a few days ago. He said he had to check something and he’d get back to me. He never did. I texted and called him before I left for the event, but only heard from him an hour ago. He’d gone out of town to visit friends for the weekend, without a word to me.
I was livid thinking how disrespectful this was to not let me know he wouldn’t be attending. When we are together he is the epitome of respectful, kind, and attentive. But when we’re not, he doesn’t call or text for a few days. We’ve discussed how neither of us is interested in seeing others, so I don’t think another woman is taking his focus. I’m not sure what to do. I want to have someone I can depend on to attend social functions, not a fly-by-night lover.
I’ve been there before, taking my guy’s behavior personally and getting huffy at the perceived slights. It is easy and natural to do. You have to decide if it is just a difference in styles or if he is taking you for granted. If the former, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to shift your expectations, as it is doubtful he will change.
He sounds like he is like a wild stallion, coming and going at his whim, running where his interests take him. Occasionally, he will come to you for the sweet sugar and affection you provide. You want him to be like the corralled horse: predictable, stable, and tamed. Perhaps part of his allure is his wildness and unpredictability. As well as the quality of your experience with him — when he nuzzles you, you know there is no where else on the planet he’d rather be. He focuses on you completely. Until he’s off again for a few days, sowing his wild oats.
The corralled horse also has appeal. You know you can count on him, you can lead him where you want, you know where to find him at all times. He’s happy in his pen as long as it includes regular attention and feeding from you. But some women find this kind of relationship boring.
You are expecting your guy to act boyfriend-like. But he is, it seems, unwilling to be tamed. If your irritation at his spontaneity overwhelms your love of spending time with him, then move on. But if you like to be with him and need some predictability, then consider renegotiating your exclusivity and agree to see others. You will, no doubt, find someone who is more traditional in his interest and ability to commit to a social engagement a week or two in advance. As long as all parties know there is not an exclusivity agreement, then you can see two people at once. It may not be optimal, but since your wild horse is not likely to change his ways, you need to explore options for getting your needs met. Yelling at and nagging him won’t accomplish what you want. A wild horse will buck off an unwelcomed rider, and you will not enjoy the experience.