Friends With Benefits -- If a Guy Isn’t Ready, He Isn’t Ready

by - 1:35 PM


Dear Dr. Gilda,

I am 26 and have been in a weird relationship for over a year.  I met Steve when we worked together, before I was transferred out of the company. There was electricity between us, but we were each attached elsewhere.

Months after not speaking, we met again at a club.  From then on, we took turns texting each other every night at 1AM, but not going out. He had just ended his 2-year relationship, and I was out of mine.  Months later, we bumped into each other again. This time we kissed for the first time.  I later asked what he thought of me, and he said that after his long and painful relationship, he didn't want anything serious right now.  So I let it slide and we continued texting.

We met up with each other again at a club for the third time and we kissed again.  After that, for some reason, he refused to return my calls.  I was in agony because I didn't know what I did wrong. Each day, I thought about him and hurt.  I finally had my best friend text him, and ask why he stopped talking to me.  He said he was angry because when his friend told me he was in the hospital, I laughed.  He ended up being very sick.

A month later, he texted to say that despite his anger, he still had feelings for me.  We continued to text, kiss at clubs, and he said he cared for me.  Yet, he never asked me out!  When I asked again what I meant to him, he said, "Why are you rushing this?" So I gave him still more time. 

We continued to bump into each other at clubs, and sometimes even hooked-up.  I wrote him a long text describing my feelings.  After reading it, he finally did ask me out. But now I was angry at him because one night while he was drunk, he tried to pull down my top.  I refused to talk to him for a month.  He texted me from time to time to ask how I was doing, but I still harbored embarrassment and pain.

Finally, tired of wondering what I meant to him, I texted and asked him where we stood. He reiterated that he didn't want a girlfriend at this time.  He also said I had some nerve not to talk to him for a month and then ask him that question.

Later that year, it all began again: we’d bump into each other at a club and hooked-up.  This time, he wouldn’t text me for a week at a time, and the conversations would be brief.  Then we would hook up again at a club.  This is getting on my nerves and I don't know what to think anymore.  Is he playing mind games with me?



Dear Ellie:

The first part of your email sounds like you care for a vulnerable man who needs time to heal after his breakup.  You clearly heard what he told you and you agreed to wait.  But then you became impatient, accusing him of mind games.  It’s true, he’s sending mixed messages in saying he’s not ready for romance, yet participating in this flirtation.  

What I don’t understand is your willingness to play this game.  If a guy isn’t ready, he isn’t ready. Hooking-up with you won’t make him more ready for love.

Steve has repeatedly told you he doesn’t want to get serious now, and his behavior supports his words.  Are you so self-involved to think that you can change his mind?

Your pushiness is not only creating permanent damage for anything that might be possible in the future, but it may also be slowing Steve’s healing. You continue to offer him sex, and you continue to ask him where you stand.  It upsets you that he hasn’t come around despite your seductiveness. You want to know he cares for you, yet, if you had his feelings at heart, you would follow his wishes.

How Steve treated you with your top is a blaring sign about where you stand, which is, sorry to say, nowhere.  A man who cares for a woman doesn’t disrespect her with drunkenness and foul play.  You thought that by showing your anger, you’d manipulate him into your heart.

He’s right that you had some nerve not to talk to him and then to ask again where you stood.  And you say that he’s the one playing games? 

Get real!  Steve is not interested in you as you’d like him to be.  If you aren’t happy with the arrangement, find someone else.  But if you continue to play similar games with a new guy, he will leave skid marks.

For now, you and Steve need a breather.  Let him go and grow.  Maybe someday, the two of you will meet again, ready for romance. But for now, it’s just electricity without the necessary sparks.

Dr. Gilda

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