I’ve been a single mom for five years. Several times a week for the last two years, I have chatted with a wonderful man while we both wait to pick up our kids after school. He is a single dad who is friendly, kind and intelligent. He is the kind of man that I would like to date. I have flirted with him, but he has not made any moves or asked me out. How do l let him know that I’m interested?
Ask him out. I’m not a big advocate of the flirt-and-hope-he-notices-me theory of seduction (a.k.a. manipulation). If you are interested, say so. Tell him that you really enjoy talking to him and would like to get to know him better. Have a few specific outings in mind, perhaps a concert, an athletic event or a new restaurant that you want to try. If he says no or is clearly not that into you, have the dignity to respect his choice. His “no” is not a rejection of you, so don’t try to personalize it. Instead, appreciate that he has the integrity to tell the truth. Let this inspire you to continue your friendship with him and to respect the boundary.
How do you know if a man is “the one”? I have been dating my boyfriend for six years. He asked me to move in with him, but he does not want to get married. I think that we should get married. I think that if he is “the one,” he would want to marry me. I love him, and I don’t want to lose him, but I don’t want to cheat myself of what I have always dreamed of having. What should I do?
Accept this: Your man is “the one” until he is not. It’s your mind that makes the decision based on the fears of the moment. So, when you’re uncomfortable because he is not meeting your needs, fulfilling your wants and respecting your beliefs about how things should or should not be handled, you imagine that there is another, better man for you somewhere in Romanceland. Or, you fret about how your man would change (be less like himself and more like you want him to be) if he really loved you. But when your needs, wants and shoulds subside, your man suddenly matches your concept of the ideal soul mate, and you crown him “the one.”
You believe that if your man really loved you, he would marry you. Perhaps. But if he respects marriage as a lifelong commitment and experiences you as unable to decide if he is “the one,” why would he pop the question? In that scenario, not inviting you into marriage is an act of love: toward himself, toward marriage and toward you.
If you don’t wish to cheat yourself of your dream of being married, learn to be consistent. That’s love: consistent, present and accepting, while always calling us forward into a more genuine version of ourselves. Your desire to hold on to your man even though you are uncertain is not love, but a safety net. Love may exist between you, but its growth is inhibited by your need to mature (and not think of another human being as your safety net). So, I don’t suggest that you move in—to marriage or to a shared living space—until you are willing to make a commitment and keep it. Until then, stop thinking of marriage as a kind of prize you should receive if a man loves you. The opportunity to give and receive love is gift enough.