Q: I'm a successful 31-year-old man. I'm in shape, above-average looking, very successful in my career, own a home, lots of friends, good relationship with my family, etc. I'm at a point where I'm ready to meet someone and settle down. My happiness doesn't hinge on it, but I'm ready.
My problem seems to be getting past a first or second date. Many times I can read the signs that someone isn't interested, or I'm not, and that's totally OK. However, I recently went on a date which seemed to be one of the best ones I've gone on in a while. I even received an unsolicited text the next morning telling me how much fun she had. After that, she became very distant and kind of went away. That's happened multiple times. I think perhaps I'm too eager and maybe coming off as desperate -- sending a text back, saying nice things, calling, etc.
All girls say they want guys to be up front with them but in reality, do they really want us to play the whole cat and mouse game?
A: Don't think of dating as a game, think of it as a puzzle. You're trying to figure out what that other person's relationship preferences are and how they match up to yours. You're not going to know all of their priorities and quirks after just one date, so taking the time to solve the puzzle is the best way to figure it out.
Now, if you think you're coming off as too eager and desperate, then you are. There's a fine line between being up front and being all up in someone's business, and sending multiple texts the morning after a first date would constitute crossing this line. So does calling, emailing and Facebooking the same message, just to make sure she got it. You also might be too available. Desperation has a nasty stench and being ready for dinner and a movie on five minutes' notice gives off a pretty strong whiff. If you really are a catch and women seem to be interested initially, then your course of action after the first date is the likely culprit.
Additionally, here are some other things to ask yourself: Are you dating out of your league? You're attractive and successful, you know how to spell and people like you. The women you choose to date should be of the same caliber. It's ridiculous but true: Some people will pass on you if they think you're too good for them. Some of the women you meet might be harboring this insecurity but, unlike the pound-of-makeup-and-status-handbag girls, these bearers of low self-esteem are tougher to spot. Date confident, classy ladies whom you view as equally abundant in good traits.
Speaking of insecurity, do you seem insecure? It's tough to measure one's own faults, so ask a close friend (who's not going to crush your ego) if you come off as insecure around women. Are you too clingy or too flashy? Some less obvious signs of insecurity are talking incessantly about yourself or anything at all, passing off self-deprecating comments as jokes and making fun of strangers. You might be doing these things on dates without realizing it, and they are all very unattractive.
Do you assume that, because you're ready to settle down, your date is looking for the same thing? Some women date out of boredom, some date just to get laid, some only want the free meal. If you're dating women around the same age as you are, assume that maybe half of them are looking for something serious. We don't prioritize getting married and having kids like our mothers did. Talk about relationships and monogamy on the first or second date can freak us girls out, too.
Alexis McKinnis is taking your questions about sex, dating and relationships. Send them to advice @vita.mn or submit anonymously at www.vita. mn/alexis. Don't leave out the juicy details!