Does he want in your life — or just in your bedroom?

I had a hot and heavy relationship with a man I dated for 5 months. It was one of those instant chemistry situations and after our second date we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. We saw each other once a week, sometimes for several days, even though he lived less than an hour away. He always brought me a gift, and in between visits he sent me daily loving text messages, IMs, emails, and/or e-cards. Nothing salacious, just romantic and sweet.

The relationship progressed quickly, something I told myself not to do. But I was so drawn to him, and he to me, it was futile trying to put the brakes on. It seemed we were both falling hard and fast.

I thought he was being a gentleman by always making the journey to my house so I didn’t have to drive the hour to his. After a month, I suggested we share the driving burden and meet at his house occasionally. He always had a viable reason this wouldn’t work — various parts of his house were being remodeled so it was a mess. Then when those projects were done, he had relatives staying. On and on. I even wondered if he was married or had a girlfriend since he was so adept at keeping me out of his place. But he was so loving and attentive I pushed that thought aside.

I noticed he had a reason to decline attending every social event to which I invited him. So he never met my friends. I told him it was important to me that we were in each other’s social lives. But he never invited me to meet his friends, so it felt like he was keeping me at arms length the whole time.

When he visited, he’d take me out to dinner or to the movies. But our physical pull was so strong, before or after — or often both — we’d end up you know where. I tried not to think that this was a purely sexual relationship because he was attentive in between trysts. But the absence of any social interaction with the other’s friends eventually made it clear that he didn’t want a real relationship with me.

Finally, after telling me many times how perfect we were for each other, how much I meant to him, and how he envisioned being with me for decades, he declared we weren’t compatible. I suppose the chemistry ran it’s course for him. I was heartbroken, even though I could see we had major differences in our relationship goals, preferences and expectations. Still, it stings to have someone you are attracted to break up with you, even if your logical self knows it isn’t going to work.

The lesson — which I could have told myself beforehand if I were advising someone else — is to take it slow. Make sure you both truly want the same thing. Even if you both say you want an exclusive, committed long-term relationship, you don’t really know what that exactly means to the other until you’ve gotten to know each other for a while.

Do I regret this relationship? No. In many ways he taught me important lessons and I will cherish the good times we had together. There were indications of our incompatibility in the second date that I chose to ignore, even when they were repeated. There was so much that I thought worked that I was willing to compromise or chalk up to no relationship being perfect.

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to


10 responses to “Does he want in your life — or just in your bedroom?”

  1. Loving Annie Avatar

    Such a good point, and you illustrated it beautifully with that post.

    I suspect he was an emotionally unavailable man, but regardless…

    Asking exactly what someone wants with and from you, and understanding what they mean by their words (“love” can mean fidelity to one person and simply an affectionate greeting to another, for example…) is crucial…

    It feels awkward or wrong somehow to pin someone on what thier intentions are, but I suspect if the other person is truly above-board, they won’t have a problem with being asked…

    Assumptions can end up being disastrous.

    In this case, his actions didn’t really match up to his words – although much of it certainly looked good, he wasn’t really stepping up to the plate for the kind of relationship you envisioned and expected given the amount of time you two were spending together.

    Maybe falling in love should be subsituted for ‘getting to know someone slowly over time’ and not letting the chemistry/sexuality cloud your mind… Hard to do, but some cautious wisdom can save some heartache later on…

  2. Jack Avatar

    I had an opposite experience: I was immediately introduced to her friends almost like an audition. We all got along fine but eventually every date was a social occasion with her friends. Our only alone time was…hmm..well you know. Once that cooled, I was dropped so the end result was the same. I had no idea I was simply a social prop and I fell for this woman and I’m no teenager (46). I’ll be very wary if the next woman I meet is eager to quickly integrate me into her social group.

  3. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Annie: Yes, really understanding what the other says they want can be a challenge. I kept asking him what he wanted in the relationship and his answer was always “you.” When I asked for clarification, he said, “All of you.” I took it at face value, when now I think he meant “all of you sexually.”

    Jack: Good point. No one wants to be a prop. I think the key is balance. I’d be concerned too if we always went out with others, as you need some time alone to talk about important things. But I also know seeing someone around others gives you a different perspective on them. Around their friends, people are relaxed and elements of themselves come out that don’t when they are on their best behavior on a date.

  4. Mike Avatar

    Taking it slow is always a good thing. You get to see a lot of those pot holes before you run into them.

    Something fishy about him not wanting you in his part of the world.

  5. Judy Avatar

    Let’s create a red flag alert check off list. Beginning with phone contact parameters. 1)Hours to call between. If he calls after 10:00pm to have a long deep meaningful conversation on a continous basis. My question is where was your meaningful self at 8 when I was more awake and responsive. Or, here is a good one, I am calling you now because I won’t be available later and just want to say hi then cutting the conversation short. RED FLAG….there may be someone else utlizing his time and you are second in line. If you accept second place maybe it is just a yellow caution flag.
    Red flag alert number two. 2) When you are together with him his phone is more important than you. I understand emergencies but really most polite people will silent their phone when in the presense of someone that they want to have flowing reciprocal conversation with.
    Red flag alert number three 3) He takes the phone with him to bathroom or out to his car to get something…whatever, and the timing is longer than it takes to get the job done.
    We live in an immediate electronically connected world that has it’s advantages and disadvantages. I personally would like to experience the days when there were no cell phones and people actually have exchange all facets of communications in slow motion. “I have phone issues” :}

  6. Judy Avatar

    Second red flag alert……… Second guessing yourself…..a red flag goes off in your head….he/she said or did something that doesn’t make sense. Example: You are dating for at least a month seeing each other at least once a week and open phone communication……he hasn’t called in three days…red flag! Second guessing is “oh maybe he has a business or family emergency.” You call and inquire about how he is because you are worried…that’s what we women do, nurture. Men’s nature is not to nurture. He doesn’t call back. You worry, wonder, what if, where, why thus ‘second guess’ and give him a way out. You say to yourself I have been comfortable and the happy feeling is great and you want it to continue, you give into the happy times and allow him to continue this behavior cause he may or not call. You my dear are in charge and that behavior is not acceptable. The mature, responsible considerate thing to do is for him to call and tell you what is going on. That is, if he wants to continue the relationship even if it is in a friendship basis. Men know how to create a lasting relationship they just take the easy way out and don’t. They are immediate creatures. Emotions take to much time and energy and detours from their conquest at hand.
    Solution to the No Call Red Flag Alert…..Red means stop, regroup, heal, learn the lesson at hand and move on…Next please. I am worthy of love, joy & respect!!! There is a man out there that fits me.
    If these red flags go off and ignored it is your choice to accept the “he wants you in his bed and not in his head.”

  7. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Judy — this is so good! You should be writing this blog!

    I wish I had stuck to what you said with my last guy, as I did what you said and I forgave him for things I shouldn’t have. I was so enamored, and when it was good it was very, very good, so I overlooked those yellow flags. Sad, but true that even DG can fall for men who treat her badly sometimes. I think I’m wiser now!

  8. Judy Avatar

    I am honored that I contributed to the journey!
    Thank you for the affirmation, truly a compliment from a Goddess!

  9. Meari Avatar

    I dated a guy who’d drive almost an hour to my house and take me out. He, too, always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t come to his house. Say “Big Red Flag”! He was always evasive about personal questions, too. More flags! Around the time of my birthday, I asked him what his middle name was… He evaded the question. What was the big deal? Not one to me. It irritated me, so when I said he’d take me out for my birthday, I picked the most expensive restaurant I could find. Two weeks later, he stopped calling/texting — I didn’t care because I knew it was going nowhere.

  10. LA Avatar

    Geez. So you had great sex. Enjoy it! Leave it at that. Not every relationship is meant to be destined for Sunday a.m. Starbucks and the latest by John Grey and John Tesh. The bus isn’t going to stop anymore soon so take advantage of your sexualality before it goes away. Sometimes it is just sticky sex and that is okay, and that is good.