Tales of woo

I was surprised this week to hear from an out-of-the-area man who called me several times a week for a month a few months ago. We’d had a nice connection and he said he wanted to come see me soon, then he went AWOL with an occasional cryptic email. He’d told me he removed himself from the dating site because he’d found me and wasn’t interested in anyone else.

I’d texted him a few times and called to make sure he was OK, but nothing back. I figured he’d found someone else, probably someone local, which was fine, although I did like our chats.

In his recent cryptic email, he said something about “the one I’m after now.” I said it was fine if he was pursuing another woman, I’d just like to know so I wouldn’t bother him with emails or texts. He responded, “You are the one I’m after.”

This made me scratch my head. How can a man possibly think that an occasional one-line email is pursuing?

He’s not the first who has made me question a man’s definition of wooing or pursuing. Some think that a once a week phone call — with no plan to get together — is sufficient. Others think regular emails, IMs or texts are pursuing. What happened to an actual date? And on that date, more than take out and watching a DVD?

I’ve been wooed in ways that felt to me like wooing — regular connection, filled with sweet talk on both sides and plans put forth to get together. Romantic cards — real and virtual, flowers, small gifts, a plan for a fun date, these all feel like elements of wooing. A man striving to make a positive impression, wanting to curry my favor through acts — even small acts — this seems like wooing to me.

So men readers, help us out here. How could a man think he’s pursuing a woman who he barely contacts? Or is it all just smoke?

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27 responses to “Tales of woo”

  1. Mike Avatar

    It’s just smoke. He’s seeing other person and your just one of the pearls on a string. Some dating books and advice sites state to do this to decrease anxiety levels since you always have someone else to fall back on. While this probably works on paper in some guys dorm room it’s not the best thing to do in the real world.

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Thanks Mike. That’s what I thought. Too bad we can’t be honest in the dating world, even when asked directly and with no hint at drama if the response was not what we think the other wants to hear. Whenever someone asks if I’m seeing someone else, I answer whatever the truth is at the time. It’s often, “I’ve gone out with a few men recently and I’ve accepted a second date request from one.” Or “I’m not seeing anyone at the time, but I have several who’ve expressed interest.” Why is answering a direct question so hard? I know, it’s to keep one’s options open, but it seems so duplicitous when the truth would be just fine.

  3. Diana Avatar

    I’ve had this happen to me, too. A man will call occasionally and then stop for awhile, and then start calling again like he hadn’t disappeared for a few weeks. This usually means he’s got one or more other women that he’s pursuing and is just keeping me in the rotation.

  4. Mike Avatar

    As I get older I see people trying to keep their options open. Like they’re are a limited amount of people and they’re almost at the end of the roll. I know people that get a lot of anxiety that this is it.

  5. Samantha Avatar

    I think the rotation thing is it. I think those that are in to doing that dont worry much about how honest they’re being with women. Seems to be a lot more quality women online than men ONLINE… not saying there aren’t quality single men equal to women… I’m convinced that trying to find a quality one online is like a needle in a haystack! I’ve been trying for more than 10 years off and on and feel I have something to say about this. 🙂 Plus my therapist agrees and sees this in her practice. The company I work with merged with another last year. I met someone at work when our companies merged. He’s never been on a dating site, and is really a ‘good one’… hasn’t been on umpteen million dates and isn’t jaded and is not looking for the next one around the corner. Yipee!! My sister met her wonderful husband online, though. They live in a small town in Oregon. His wife passed away so he was looking for companionship. So online is not hopeless for sure.

  6. Samantha Avatar

    One last thing… I have found, especially with the last guy I tangled with online… I can think like dating goddess and wonder why people can’t simply be straight up, etc. It’s just that online you find a real cross section of society I guess? Lots of different people with different issues. The guy I met on eharmony told me after a while that he’s not a relationship guy. When I grew tired of hoping he’d come around, so told him I’d see him as a friend but nothing more, he promptly ended it with me and married someone else a month later. I kid you not. It doesn’t matter what you kinda of hope people will be like. You’re gonna run across narcissists and stuff like this… guys who are pretty much just thinking about themselves and go from one to the next. And this guy came on strong at first and even asked me at one point
    “where have you been all my life.” Scary stuff! I thought he was harmless basically but he turned around and bit me good.

  7. Catherine Avatar

    I so appreciate people sharing their real life experiences here. It helps to know I am not the only one having these same types of exchanges with people. I took a break last fall from the online dating scene as I hadn’t met a “quality” guy in a long long time. So far I am happier spending time with friends, and don’t miss not having a romantic relationship and all the grief that goes with it.

  8. nysharon Avatar

    You can’t make this stuff up. I am really laughing out loud for ya.

  9. nysharon Avatar

    Honestly DG, we can’t take it all so seriously. You know I just began online dating for the past couple months. I have such good stories to tell now to my drama starved married friends. Met a guy, many emails, lots of good phone calls, but cancelled our first date the morning of by text (I was traveling an hours to meet him–duh) then never responded for a week or two to my contacts. Weeks later he asked if we can still meet. I responded “I got the impression you were no longer interested due to the drop in your contact, I am available (dates and times) and won’t be in your area again in the near future so it would be best if you could make the trip here. Call me when you can make it here.” –Never heard from him again. When you call them on it….the truth is clear. Fact is there are always going to be those, men and women, who keep contact for an ego stroke. A fallback to speak of. As soon as I get that impression…I’m finished.

  10. Sherri Avatar

    I figure if a man’s interested in me, he wants to contact me as much as possible, impress me, etc. If he’s not interested or I’m one of many “on the string of pearls” as an earlier poster phrased it, then he’s not the guy for me. If my “inner voice” is whispering doubts to me, and I’m having to ask other people whether or not they think he’s “into me”…chances are, he’s not!
    Not to sound cut-and-dried about it; this is my own personal experience only.

  11. Meari Avatar

    It’s all smoke! My goodness, what man in his right mind would think that an occassional phone call, email, text, whatever is considering persuing or woo’ing? Getting take out and watching TV to me is something a couple does after they have known each other for a long time. If a man wants to persue me, he’s going to have to man-up and take me on real dates in real restaurants where the waiters/waitresses come to the table. Wow, I really can’t believe this guy who said ‘you’re the one he’s persuing’.

  12. rkintn Avatar

    It all feels like a big game to me and I am not a playah by any means LOL I try to be as straight up and honest as possible..if that runs him off then that means he wasn’t for me anyway. The very nanosecond I start to feel as though I am being played, I walk. Life’s too short:)

  13. Jack Avatar

    That sounds more like a married dude whose wife keeps discovering his computer passwords. Creepy really. I really feel that at our age, there needs to be the same amount of back and forth. One line e-mails are not wooing. Adults can make it clear they’re interested and if you don’t get the feeling that its mutual, then move on. I do. I’m also home on friday night doing laundry so maybe my advice isn’t the best!!

  14. Kim Avatar

    I have this very same man in my life now. He calls me once every three weeks, maybe sends me an email about once a week, and sends flowers once a month (it’s become long distance since I have moved away). He texts me about once a week and yet to him, this is communication. He is after all barely 30, and never had a long term relationship much less over distance. He is a die hard believer in romance and holds his relationships very close keeping them from friends and others who will try to break them down. He was raised by older parents and has very old school morals and values. While I wish it was more, this is who he is and that’s okay with me. I’d prefer it this way as opposed to being smothered.

  15. Samantha Avatar

    DG – about your post. May I suggest you don’t take these people so seriously. I wouldn’t waste my energy on trying to figure them out. An elusive guy with cryptic messages isn’t serious and not available! If they aren’t out there pursuing you, and trying to win you over, fuggitaboutit.

  16. Elena Avatar

    Wow, this post has triggered quite a reaction from readers. I agree with everything that has been already been posted here in the comments. Only thing I’d like to add is that if we look at these situations through a platonic prism, would we believe that the other person was interested in developing a platonic friendship if they were a). super secretive, b). unresponsive to emails and phone calls and c). constantly expecting us to do all the work in terms of driving hours to meet them, arranging everything, etc.?

    It’s funny to me how some women would not tolerate for one second this kind of treatment from another woman who they were trying to develop a friendship with but when the same scenario gets framed as a potential romantic prospect, involving a man, then suddenly all criteria for basic human relations goes out the window and we start making excuses to rationalize his erratic behavior.

    Quick rule of thumb…if it doesn’t feel like wooing to you, IT’S NOT WOOING. Maybe it will qualify as wooing to another person to receive one phone call a week and a couple of text or emails messages a week but if that does, then that’s clearly somebody who doesn’t get out much or have much social experience. Although too much wooing can also set off an alarm as well, I repeat, if it doesn’t feel like you’re being wooed by your own personal standard of what wooing is, you’re not.

  17. Kaite Avatar

    I’ve been dating a man who is a widower for a month… He’s only been married once… I’ve been married 5 times… and he actually knows about 2… how do I relate to him that I’ve had 3 other marriages and then relate the reasons I realized after much realistic soul searching and being “real” to myself as to why I did that without scaring him away?? I really like this man and feel it would be a good journey for both of us as there are many commonalities… My Brother says he needs to know… How can I tell him in a way that is tactful and present myself as being a good “risk” to take… Kaite

  18. Samantha Avatar

    Kaite – you need to tell him right away in my opinion. You should have told him already is what I mean! From what I know, a only once married widower is a serious minded man and more than likely really wants to meet someone and re-marry in the not tooo distant future. So tell him about the other marriages, tell him you understand he would need to know what you’ve learned from the experience. Encourage him to ask you questions so he can alleviate any questions he may have. Maybe start out by saying ‘I’ve been married 5 times. I know you’ll probably have questions and I understand.’ The longer you wait the worse it could make you look in his eyes. Show him you’ve learned from the past by communicating with him! Here’s your anonymous nudge! Practice all you’ve learned from the past, now. Seems like one of the main thing we are all looking for is someone who can tell us who they really are. Explain why you would be a good risk to take..

  19. rkintn Avatar

    After reading your post, though, there were a few things that kinda sent up red flags for me. He’s only been a widower for a month? That seems like a very short time to have grieved and to actually be ready to jump back into the dating pool. Granted, I have never been widowed but I do know it takes time after a divorce to get your head back on straight enough to date. I would think it would be even moreso for a widowed person..especially if it was a long marriage. Next, is the fact you haven’t been honest with him. You said he only knows of 2 of the marriages so I am going to assume the subject of previous marriages has come up. If you have only disclosed two of those marriages (regardless of any circumstances surrounding those relationships) you may find yourself in the position of being considered not trustworthy. I myself have been married and divorced 3 times and I am pretty quick to put that out there whenever I start talking to someone. I want everything to be above board and also if they have a problem with it then I know early on and am not in a position of wasting mine or their time. I agree with Samantha that you should correct this situation as quickly as possible.
    I wish you the best:)

  20. Jack Avatar

    My two cents: tell him right away and back off for a bit. Let him digest it and then if he’s okay with it, insist that you talk about it until you’re both blue in the face. The worst thing is to conceal it. It should cool things off a bit and that may be disappointing to you but if he re-engages, it will be with eyes wide open.

  21. bookyone Avatar

    I so appreciate people sharing their real life experiences here. It helps to know I am not the only one having these same types of exchanges with people. I took a break last fall from the online dating scene as I hadn’t met a “quality” guy in a long long time. So far I am happier spending time with friends, and don’t miss not having a romantic relationship and all the grief that goes with it.

    I second, third, fourth and yes, hic, fifth this… 🙂

    It’s a funny thing though, the less interested I am in pursuing a romantic relationship, the more guys I seem to encounter, both on and offline, who are looking for just that sort of relationship. Too bad none of them are my Prince Chow Mein with extra noodles. 🙂

    Hugs from bookyone 🙂

  22. LuckyatCards Avatar

    I don’t know how you tell someone you have been married five times without potentially scaring the guy away. I’m sorry, but that is going to give anyone pause.

    I do think online contact can be considered wooing, at least the initial stage of wooing, but if the contact is infrequent, it runs counter to the idea of wooing — it shows that there’s a lack of interest on the part of the man.

    I think it’s fine for a man to keep several women in rotation, if that’s what you want to call it. I am sure there are women who are in contact with multiple men.

    I also think that if you can meet someone the old fashioned way instead of via online stuff, you have a better chance of finding someone good. Nothing against anyone using online stuff, as I have, but it’s the same pool of men and women looking.

  23. Samantha Avatar

    My eyes/mind totally glazed over the widower for one month part. I honed in on the not telling him you’ve been married five times thing….

    He definately isn’t emotionally available to be there for you. I would not want to be a substitute or someone who is there to more or less comfort a grieving widower. Maybe you need to read more relationship books or seek therapy to figure out your own relationship stuff and what your issues are to get your ducks in a row. I have so I’m not slinging mud at you.

  24. Elena Avatar

    A widower for only one month? What is a widower of only a month doing dating? Something is definitely not right.

    A platonic male friend of mine, someone that I’ve known almost since college, is currently going through a divorce. His wife of 13 years left him in August. They had been having problems for several years but he was still shocked when he found their joint bank account empty and she was gone when he got home. They’re now in the process of getting a divorce but three weeks ago he he met somebody new who he claims he is smitten with. There are real serious issues about himself that contributed to the dissolution of his marriage that he has not addressed and has not totally owned up to. Getting seriously involved with a new woman when his divorce isn’t final and he himself hasn’t even had time to do his own internal “homework” or even done any healing over the hurt of the end of his marriage is really a recipe for future romantic disappointment.

    To me it’s very sad that for some people can’t enjoy their own company and that they have to rush headlong into new relationships to ease their fear of loneliness.

  25. Evelyn Woodhead Avatar
    Evelyn Woodhead

    Where are you getting this a widower for a month nonsense from? The way I read it, She’s been dating, for a month, somebody who is a widower.

  26. Cilla Avatar

    Some widowers (and widows) had spouses who were ill for a very long time (years or even decades), and have had time to come to grips with their grief before their spouse even passed away. While it’s not normal to date only one month after being widowed, it’s not entirely impossible to do it in a healthy way. Some are ready for new relationships, and they say widowers from happy marriages make the best mates, because they know what they want. And some may be dating for fun, because their friends tell them to get out there and mingle, not to replace their wives. I do think, as Evelyn said, the poster used what I think is a “dangling modifier” and probably has been dating for a month a man who is a widower.

    The whole wooing thing has become sooooo confusing. If a man sends flowers too soon, he’s needy. If he texts, he’s lazy. He can’t figure out how often he’s supposed to call. Then we women start interpreting all this and draw our own conclusions, rightly or wrongly. I’m not advocating all out pursuing a man, but I do think at a certain age you have to have a frank conversation about whether or not you are dating many people or just one, i.e., how many people are you “wooing.”

  27. Mitsy Avatar

    Letters like this remind me of my dark days of online dating. Even the ones who claimed to not be players actually were. I remember feeling like I was left hanging a number of times. The one supposedly “Christian” guy who was a cop from Iowa was the biggest player of them all. We talked on the phone a lot during the 2 1/2 months of game playing I guess you’d call it, because it was not pursuing or dating. We had one actual date and he seemed very interested, but then he started answering emails with stupid one or two-liners that sounded more like a jr. high kid than a man in his 40’s. I finally emailed him that this was not going to work and never heard from him again. I had varying situations that played out with the online dating which turned out to be mostly games (not fun for me anyway) for the men who showed any interest in me. I’m now not seeing anyone and likely will not venture into the online dating world again because it was bizarre, hurtful and too many men simply did not know what they wanted. I’m to the point where I think I’m better off by myself.