Are you expecting a wild horse to act tame?

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.

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7 responses to “Are you expecting a wild horse to act tame?”

  1. Brenda Avatar

    If it is important for you to be with a man who is more respectful of your time and who MAKES an effort to see you given your time parameters, then MOVE on and pass on this one. He seems very egocentric, and not at all willing to please you and in the beginning of your courtship, he should be courting YOU.

    He is not and please know that there are many much better men out there………….don’t settle!

  2. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I agree with Brenda. At the beginning of courtship, both partners usually put on their best game faces. This guy’s face isn’t one that appeals to his partner, so, IMHO, better to cut bait now than to fish on and risk getting emotionally entangled with a guy who doesn’t feel the need to jump into his partner’s net.

    Hugs from bookyone 🙂

  3. GiGi Avatar

    Interesting topic. I just got rid of a guy I had been dating about a month with the same problem.

    I find the analogy of a wild stallion a little amusing – he was anything but!

    It finally ended when he emailed me at 2:30 on the afternoon of his birthday to ask about happy hour plans, even though he had called the night before and made no mention of wanting to spend his birthday with me.

    I emailed that I had other plans and he said he was sorry, that he needs a refresher course in dating.

    I told him that when he finds the right person (it wasn’t me) that he won’t need any “refresher courses” because he would be thinking about her and want to make plans to spend time with her. It would all come naturally.

  4. nysharon Avatar

    Agree with all of the above. These Guys (and sometime woman friends) are always looking for the best offer and disguise it as spontaneity. Dissatisfaction is written all over your letter and that is what you should be listening to. Even if Mr. Unavailable becomes more attentive it will be a constant annoyance and you will be sensitive about it since you started off this way. Its not really you, he just is always looking for the next opportunity. He is really Mr. Self Centered. Fly-by-nighters only settle down on land in romance novels.

  5. nysharon Avatar

    BTW: Keep dating and not waiting. Don’t be available because you REALLY have something else to do. REmember the old saying, “I can’t see you tonight because I am washing my hair.” LOL

  6. Deanna Avatar

    I agree with all of the above. He is not only Mr Self Centered, but also Mr Emotionally Immature (I am still constantly amazed at how many men fall into that category, particularly men in their 40’s). He is only thinking about himself, and whether or not something better will come along, so of course he can’t make commitments or plans in advance. He is not committed at all to you or the relationship and you shouldn’t be, either. Don’t settle for behavior like that.

  7. BostonSass Avatar

    Sounds like he has some narcissistic tendencies… boy, have I been there. Just wrote about it actually.