Different definitions of “pursue”

Webster’s dictionary says “pursue” means: “seek to form a sexual relationship with (someone) in a persistent way.”

I explained in “Tales of woo” how some men’s definition of “pursue” seems skewed to me. Another example has occurred this week.

A few weeks ago a local man showed signs of interest. We emailed a few times, then I gave him my number and we had several long, interesting chats. The only problem was he was on a business trip and wouldn’t be returning until after I left for SE Asia. I suggested he download Skype so we could continue our voice chats.

While I was gone, there was no communication. No voice mails, no emails. And no Skype, so he didn’t follow through by downloading it.

The evening I was to return home, I got this email:

“Missing you bad; the conversation is invigorating and the woman is scintillating. I hope things are good for you there. Let’s talk soon.”

I responded that I would be home the next day and we could chat while I drove home from the airport, but it might be too late for him, so let me know. When I arrived home there was no voice mail so I called him. I got his voice mail so left a message. I’ve not heard a peep from him in almost a week since he sent the “Missing you bad” email.

What gives? Too busy to make contact? I don’t buy it. Found someone else? Maybe. Not that into me? Then why write an email like that?

I continue to scratch my head trying to understand why men do and say certain things, then don’t take any action. My cynical self thinks he’s juggling several women and I’m not at the top of his list. Or maybe he’s married.


Embracing Midlife MenRead more about men’s unexplainable behaviors in Embracing Midlife Men: Insights Into Curious Behaviors.


21 responses to “Different definitions of “pursue””

  1. Sandra Avatar

    Girl, I think you should run and not look back. He is definitely married, or juggling women.

    No sincerity in his message. A decent man would’ve at least addressed you by your name or asked you questions like ” How is your trip” or “When can I see you?” He didn’t even leave you a voicemail.

    Why do men say something and do something completely different ? Because they can. And I am sure women fall for it. Even you’re kind of considering talking to this man instead of avoiding him.

    I mean, yeah, he was interested in you, but not that interested. What I mean is, he’s not serious about you. If he was, he would’ve at the very least picked up the phone and asked you when he could see you again.

    If you still want to pursue him, do it, but don’t expect anything out of it.

  2. Samantha Avatar

    The best way to handle this is to not take it seriously. Even though he said what he said…. it doesn’t mean anything at all if he doesn’t take action. I would not continue to scratch head and wonder. I think it’s a lot easier to just shine on the comments and just know unless they take action, it’s just blather.. don’t take these sweet nothings to heart.

  3. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Sandra: Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t plan on pursuing him — I don’t pursue men. If he aren’t interested enough to initiate, he’s not for me.

  4. Brenda Avatar

    I have seen this phenomenon quite a bit in my life………a man acts somewhat interested by leaving a voicemail or an email, and then does the “poof” – I see that as someone likely in a serious relationship and putting out “feelers” to see if he can still attract a woman but then retreating back into the relationship. I have even had men tie up telephone time with me, but then never ask me out after several lengthy phone calls. When that occurs, I just stop taking their calls…………..they either want to meet me or they don’t – and if they don’t, I am so NOT into them.

    I just watch their actions and that tells me how interested they are – as the above readers commented………..

  5. Sian Avatar

    Whilst I agree with the other comments , there are a couple of things I would never do that you did..for instance..suggesting Skype, ringing when you are just off the plane…leaving messages. To me you have taken away the chase..not given him time to even think about you…you have not allowed a space…and I think this is crucial in the beginning of dating when you are just getting to know someone.

    This isn’t only applicable to romance either. How many of us have even met a ame sex new acquaintance at a party for instance, you get on well and suggest you get together again over coffee or a movie. And then that person comes on strong, ringing leaving mesages..etc ..etc..no difference..you think YIKES..if thi is what they are like now..what’s it going to be like when you let them into your life..

    You run as fast as you can..away !!

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Well Sian, I see that you and I have a different definition of “chase.” When he was moaning about how much he was going to miss talking to me while I was abroad, Skype was a natural suggestion. Since he didn’t know about it, he couldn’t have thought of it. And since we hadn’t talked in nearly 2 weeks, that gave him PLENTY of time to think about me. And since I promised I’d call when I got home, I was fulfilling my promise, just as I’d expect any man to do. If I didn’t leave that one voice message, how would he have known I held up my promise? BTW, that was the ONLY time I’ve ever called him, so in my book that is not chasing him!

  7. Sian Avatar

    If you haven’t met the guy, not talking for 2 weeks is usual. If you have not met him, and you call him..even once…this may come across as you chasing him..or else too keen. Offering to call is behaviour that I would do only to someone I considered already a close friend. Not an acquaintance. Not a new romantic acquaintance. Let him do ALL the work. If the conversations were good between you both on the phone, and he was interested in it continuing, there is no need to suggest ways to keep in contact by offering to call. He still may not have called, but you would have retained your power as a woman, rather than giving it away as I believe you have.

    If you let the guy set the pace, you will discover everything you need to know about him. At the moment I think you are getting in your own way.

    I say this with good intent as constructive criticism. Love your site and all your writings.

  8. Dating Goddess Avatar

    I can see we also have different definitions of retaining power. I feel power is retained by being in integrity — doing what you say you will do. I also don’t believe in playing games, getting men to do everything when there is clearly a mutual interest. I believe that healthy relationships accommodate give and take — not just women taking. So I think we will have to agree to disagree on each other’s approach to relationships.

  9. Sian Avatar

    Your give and take sounds fine in theory, but it hasn’t worked for you in this instance at least. I don’t play games with men, and I don’t advocate for anyone, male or female to do that. I think that giving men the opportunity and space to pursue us in their own way is the way to go. If you like what he says and allow him the space to be able to demonstrate putting his words into action..that is all that is needed in the early dating dance.

    It is admirable that you do what you say you are going to do….my point though is WHY SAY IT TO BEGIN WITH !!!! Try sitting on your hands for a bit and just trust the process, the universe..hell..trust the guy to know what to do !
    If he can’t figure it out then you would be bored with him anyway. Be receptive, but not needing to suggest things, or phonecalls or meetings.

    Let him do it. !!!

  10. Sian Avatar


    And why would you suggest Skype to a guy who is “Moaning” ???

  11. Samantha Avatar

    Sian’s message is blunt, but there is good advice there. I asked my boyfriend to read the original post and his comments were similar and sounded just as blunt. I am not trying to jump on that bandwagon at all. My take is don’t suggest anything when you’re just in the chatting stage. And, as I said above… and this next thing I’m about to say is key: don’t take what he’s saying, or even how he sounds, seriously at all at that stage. That way you won’t take it to heart, and you’ll hang up the phone at conversation’s end thinking, “ok, let’s see what he does.”

  12. Samantha Avatar

    I think it might take a guy a little longer to develop that mutual interest and it might appear that he is just as interested, when he might not be, even if he says things that sure make one think he is…. That’s the part that can suck. He needs time to catch up and time to pursue in his own way through his actions.

  13. Mark Avatar

    It seems to me there’s too much thinking going on here. If you are emailing, phoning, and chatting, and you like the person, calling him or her isn’t out of line.

    If I think a woman is playing relationship games with me, calculating how many days she should wait before initiating contact, worried about “taking away the chase,” etc., I will be turned off. It smacks of dishonesty.

    If you’re wondering about the guy’s intentions, I’d just call and leave a message asking what is going on, what his interest is, and so on.

    If I meet a woman for coffee, I won’t leave her hanging. I will send her a polite “no thanks” email if I do now want to pursue anything, or a “really nice meeting you and I hope we can get together again” email if I want to see her. One thing I think I do differently than the Dating Goddess is I don’t spend much time in email, chatting, or on the phone before meeting the person. It’s just a waste of time. A few emails, maybe some chat or a phone call, and let’s get together and see what we think. And I see little reason to even communicate with someone who doesn’t live near enough to date.

  14. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Mark: I try to balance enough virtual time before agreeing to a meet up. I can tell in a few emails and phone calls if I want to spend the energy getting cuted up to meet. This particular case was just 2 calls and a few emails. We would have then met if I had not gone to SE Asia. So sometimes there are mitigating circumstances that take longer to actually meet.

    And if a man has enough interesting characteristics, I will communicate with him even if he’s out of town. I’ve met some very interesting people, but know going it that it’s not likely to yield a relationship. I guess I just like meeting interesting people more than some of my readers do!

  15. Anna Avatar

    Of all the interesting comments above, I would have to agree with Brenda. Sounds like the guy was and could still be, putting out feelers. Perhaps in another relationship or juggling more than one woman. Its what gives some men their ego-boost (too many men!!). Its a shame that he had to say what now seems like an insincerity. But HIS shame, DG not yours. You held your integrity and phoned him like you said you would. I don’t see this as a “pursuing” issue since it was very early days and you both had merely exchanged emails and a couple of phone calls.
    ps I have an ex colleague (male) who revealed to me that he has been on a well known dating site, photo included, for two years and flirts happily with lots of women, makes cell phone contact ++ but feels he is being faithful to his wife because he never MEETS the women. What a jerk, I was speechless as this was way too much information and revealed him to be such a toad. He said it makes him feel good to get winks and emails. I was tempted to find his wife and tell her but decided to keep my nose out of it. Still wonder did I do the right thing…..But ladies……they are OUT THERE. And in fairness to the men, women might be double-dipping online too. It certainly makes me very wary when online.

  16. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Anna: “Toad” is right. But at least he stops before meeting, unlike my friend’s husband who I described in “Yuck” https://datinggoddess.com/yuck/ — who I had a date with unknowing that he was her husband!

  17. Mitsy Avatar

    I can see all sides of all the comments here. My take continues to be what it has been for a long time. Many men are not serious in wanting to find a real relationship. They play games, waste time by telling women what they want to hear, and then many do not follow through. It was a lot of the reason I hate dating sites as a general rule. It’s signing up to be hurt and I’ve been able to do that on my own in real life without having to fill out a profile. I think the guy is either a player, possibly married, or just wanting to get that ego-boost. A mature, stand-up kind of guy would get his ego fed in other more realistic ways without hurting others along the way. I feel a lot like Dating Goddess does on the contacting part. I don’t think all the contact should have to be from the man. The “chase” part is basically a cop-out for allowing men to behave badly. The “boys will be boys stuff” doesn’t quite cut it when you are 40 and older. Either they are interested or they are not. If they have never met you in person, then they quite honestly don’t know if you’d be a match or not since emails, phone calls only go so far to get to know someone. But, I think once you feel the guy is playing games, then sit back and see what happens. If he does nothing, then you have your answer. If he continues to play games with calling, insinuating that he misses you (bull as far as I’m concerned since he doesn’t know you yet), then I’d eventually ask him what his game is. If he balks on meeting, then you tell him you are NOT a game player and wish him well. Maybe he will learn the next time that you follow through if you pretend to want to meet someone and have a relationship. Otherwise, they are wasting your time.

    BTW, Anna’s co-worker sounds like an immature screw-up. To call him a toad is insulting to toads/frogs everywhere. I think it would be cool to tip off the wife somehow as to his little hobby of trolling the dating sites. He also could be lying about not meeting these women. Either way, he needs his Axx kicked hard and maybe out the door.

  18. Anna Avatar

    Wow DG I just read your “Yuck” piece. How awful for that guy’s wife. And for you as well. I came to the conclusion that online dating is no different than more traditional dating routes (clubs, dances) the married men out looking to boost their pathetic egos are still out there, cheating on their wives either mentally or physically. As you mentioned, its wise to get to know a guy as much as you can before offereing up your heart and soul.

  19. Liz Avatar

    It’s still a man’s world out there BUT we as women have our choices, too. The man sets the tone and we either go for it or not. I, personally, have no interest in a man who wants endless e-mails, endless phone calls, no definite time for a meet, etc.

    This is what I want and if I don’t get it, I lose interest: One or two e-mails initiated by the man. One or two phone calls max. If phone call goes fine, figure out a place and time to meet. That’s it. I am on a dating site to meet men and date. Nothing more. Nothing less. I find that if there are endless e-mails, etc., something else is going on with the man. A man who is TRULY interested in dating will make the effort to see you in a very reasonable amount of time. This way I don’t get flustered or anxious or anything like that.

  20. Karen Avatar

    Hi DG, I’ve read you for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve joined in. I really like your go-for-it approach to life and dating!!!

    I’ve been thinking about exactly this topic a lot myself, since I’m wondering re similar types of things with a new-ish guy. Like you, I’m over 40 & dating guys similarly experienced.

    When thinking through your/our dilemma:

    1) At our ages, I don’t think we can actually believably say anymore that a man who acts like what you described needs encouragement or instructions on how to get through to you via international phone protocols–he’s not a kid. So–scratch the possibility that he’s totally clueless and doesn’t realize that you’re interested.

    2) I agree with what Mitsy & some others said–when he says he is missing you soooo much when he hasn’t even met you yet–yeah, right, that is so totally a line. So the question becomes, why is he laying this line on you?

    3) Perhaps he’s like Mitsy says–a player/already attached/not serious and never intended to follow through. In which case, you should obviously back off and then write him off unless he comes up with something concrete/proves his worth.

    4) But best case scenario– maybe he’s just a little dumb about dating and thinks that this type of game playing is an appropriate way to initiate a relationship? Even experienced men can make this mistake, particularly if they haven’t dated much since their divorce. Maybe he’s holding back because of reading too much cruddy AskMen web advice? (Or maybe he’s just busy?) In which case, you already let him know that you’re ‘way interested and now you have to sit back and wait. Or maybe you can tell him that you think he’s playing you and see if he breaks out of Mr Smoove mode?

    I’m hoping my guy & yours are just idiotic — ie option #4.

    good luck!


  21. SanAntonioBeauty Avatar


    This is one area where men behave and think irrationally, which is hard for this woman to understand. Men are forever telling women how irrational we can be, while they are simple and rational. During the initial dating phase they are neither simple nor rational. It’s all about missing her, wanting her, chasing her, wondering if she is what he wants, wondering if he is what she wants, and who knows what else. An ex told me later in our relationship, he wondered if he would handle me since I was above his pay grade. I think too many good women have been bitten by the “nice bug” wanting to be considerate while not showing disinterest. Maybe, we should in the beginning, act as if he is not worth our time and let him prove he is. Boy, is that going to be hard, I’m going to do just that the next time I think about being nice, considerate, or pragmatic in the beginning phase of the man/woman dance called dating.