How Do You Take Things To The Next Level?

Name: Cool Girl
Question: Love your site, I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from it!talktomen

I’ve been dating a 40 yo guy I met on OKC for about three months. Things are going really well and we have a great time when we see each other, had a few overnight mini-vacations already. We only see each other once a week, because he works nights on the weekends. I’d like to see him more often, and for us to both get off OKC, but I don’t want to ruin my “cool girl” cred by bringing up the relationship talk. Any tips on how to do this while balancing getting my needs met and not coming across as a scary clingy chick? I’m breezy! (Extra points for the Friends reference?)
Age: 34
State: CA – California

 

You can’t say you’re breezy! That negates the breeziness! Oh, Joey. Such pearls of wisdom.

Here’s the thing about being the cool girl. You can’t say you’re the cool girl. If you have to say it then you’re not. It’s understandable that you want to see this guy more, but you got involved with him knowing what his schedule was like. I have a friend who manages a fairly upscale Manhattan restaurant. Like your guy, he works nights and weekends. Every woman he dates eventually gets fed up with his schedule and issues the ultimatum or just gives up. There are just some people out there with out of whack schedules and lifestyles that make them tricky to date. There is always something that makes people a bit more tricky to date. Maybe they have a dog, or kids or a wonky work schedule. It’s rarely ever smooth sailing from the get go. Couples who get past the rough patches in the beginning are usually the ones who have long term possibility. In the beginning, sometimes you just have to suck it up for a bit.

You sound like you’re planning this relationship without really considering what exactly he can offer. Switching a schedule sometimes just isn’t possible. You also need to accept that maybe this is all he wants to give at this point. Maybe he doesn’t want to switch his schedule.

You won’t know, of course, until you ask him. Which is what you need to do. The wost he can say is no. And if he does, then you need to know going in to that conversation what you’ll accept.

The reason why so many implode at this juncture in a relationship is because they aren’t able to be objective and see the complete picture. Everything is filtered through their perception of events. I think the best way to approach this is to ask him why his schedule is the way it is. Is it a work requirement? Is he low man on the totem pole? Is he trying to work towards a promotion? First figure out why he has the schedule he has and if it is by choice or not.

You might also wish to take baby steps here. Maybe start with proposing that you both take your profiles down. That doesn’t require much effort from him. If he has the limited time that he says, he’s probably not dating anyone. Get through that step and then attempt to up the ante a bit by getting an extra night here and there from him. By bringing up your intention to take down your profile, you could end up opening up the conversation about seeing each other more.

 

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19 Responses to “How Do You Take Things To The Next Level?”

  1. LostSailor Says:

    This isn’t about how to get someone to commit, it’s about how not to commit dating suicide and derail a potential relationship.

    Maybe he doesn’t want to switch his schedule.

    And maybe he can’t. And even if he could, why should he at this junction? It’s only been three months. They’re having a good time and while it’s certainly understandable that she wants to see more of him, asking him to rearrange his work schedule to “meet her needs” seems a bit too much too soon.

    Which is why I don’t buy the “I’m breezy, cool girl” act. If she’s actually concerned with not projecting a “scary clingy chick” image, then she’s neither cool nor breezy. Oh, sure, she’s trying to act all cool and breezy, but wanting to get him to alter his work life after only three months–and that’s exactly what her letter is asking–says that under the cool facade is a scary clingy chick trying to get out.

    And the age difference may be playing into this. Cool Girl doesn’t say what her relationship goals are (or what her relationship history is), but it’s not unreasonable to speculate that she’s looking to settle down and perhaps pop out a few kids. And she’s right to fear that revealing that desire at this point may send him running for the exit.

    If Cool Girl want’s to maintain her cool cred, she should follow Moxie’s advice to start slowly. After three months, having a talk about being exclusive and taking down the OKC profiles is a more appropriate step for three months. Making major changes in something like one’s work-life is not.

    If he wants a committed long-term relationship, he’ll make more time to see her. If they’re still exclusive after six or nine months, that’s the time to start having the “scarier” relationship talks. Until then, why not just enjoy the overnight mini-vacations for a while…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

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  2. Yvonne Says:

    I’m suspicious about the “once a week” schedule at 3 months. The man works “nights on the weekends”, not nights AND weekends. So he’s available evenings during the week and possibly on weekend days. Maybe not the typical 9-5, but he’s not completely unavailable. I ay the hell with being “the cool girl”. If you want him to spend more time with you or to take down his profile, there are ways to ask without seeming needy or demanding, and those are perfectly reasonable things to ask for at this stage of the relationship.

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  3. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “I’d like to see him more often, and for us to both get off OKC.”

    Here’s what baffles me about this not uncommon thought. I realize this is a somewhat radical idea but, if he wants to “get off” OK Cupid, why does he need you to instruct him to do it as some sort of bargain. He is a grown man. If he doesn’t want to continue dating other people, he is free to take down his profile, stop dating, without consulting with you first.

    Similarly, why do you need him to agree to take down his profile in order for you to do it? If you are content just dating him then take your profile down. Unilaterally. Don’t even tell him.

    The simple truth is that there is nothing you can do or say to make him want to commit to you, or to invest more time with you. He either wants to or he doesn’t. There is no benefit to “talking things through.” The only thing you can do by raising “issues” where there are none, is screw things up by coming off as demanding or unreasonable. If you are on the same page, as you hope, you will find out eventually.

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    • julie Says:

      If she has desires and expectations at this point, theres nothing wrong with telling him what her feelings are and what she would like. This allows her to find out if they are on the same page and if the answer is “no” to act accordingly whether its to continue to date others and hopefully find a man who is on the same page while just banging this guy, moving on completely, or taking down her profile, crossing her fingers and hoping for the best (i.e. that he doesnt meet someone he likes more than her). Why all the walking on egg shells? She isnt asking for a wedding date.

      Maybe she is a little delusional about being breezy.

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        I believe you have provided the “common sense” advice, which is more “common “than “sense.” In fact, there IS something wrong with announcing “expectations” if those expectations are not presently shared or, god help her, unreasonable. The conversation itself will change the relationship most likely for the worse. That was the thrust of my point actually. If he’s on the same page he will act accordingly. You won’t need to sit him down and declare your expectations. Life, is not in fact a television sitcom.

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        • julie Says:

          You might be right. My feeling is that if after 3 months of dating, you cant at least express some of your desires (especially if they are time appropriate) without “ruining” the relationship, then you might just be with the wrong guy. Suppose nothing changes in 3 months, should she at least ask for what she wants or is it best to just assume he doesnt want the same thing and break up?

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      • D. Says:

        Right, but that’s not the same thing as “discussing taking down our OKC profiles.”

        That’s a gesture. The real thing she wants to get to is the meaning behind the gesture — namely that neither of them want to date anyone else.

        Gestures can be meaningful or empty. A meaningful version of this gesture is “I’m taking down my OKC profile because I only want to date you.” A meaningless version is “I’m tired of all the emails.” Likewise, he could take down the profile and still be playing the field offline. So, what’s the point of discussing the gesture, when the real issue is what’s behind it?

        I agree with DMN on this — take down your profile if you want, and do it unilaterally. There’s no need to tell him about it except insofar as you want to say “I don’t want to date anyone else. Are you at that point yet?”

        And if he isn’t, then the OP needs to figure out where she stands on that. Maybe she’s fine with continuing to date him, maybe not. But she needs to be prepared for either eventuality if she’s gonna have that talk. That or just take down her profile silently and ride it out.

        One other thing I’d say, though, is that if the OP is gonna take her profile down BECAUSE she doesn’t want to see anyone else, AND she’s ok with waiting for him to reach that conclusion, then she should take her profile down and completely avoid the site and any other means of “checking up on him.” If she’s really ok waiting, then she needs to go into it accepting the possibility that he may still date around. I’ve found that this is possible to do, but it really really helps if you aren’t being bombarded with information about the amazing date the person had the other night that they posted about on facebook/twitter/whatever, or the fact that they’ve been active all day on OKC which you saw using your stalker profile or whatever. Better to shut out all that noise and focus on the time you spend together to decide if you want to keep doing so.

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        • julie Says:

          I can appreciate that and get that everyone moves at a different pace. But at some point wouldnt you want to say to a woman who wanted to continue dating around, “If I’m not what you want, I’m sure I can find someone who feels otherwise. Have fun!” I’ve done the ego walk away from a guy who after 6 months of dating still told me that I was his “friend”. Great. Have fun. I’m going to go date the guy from work who feels otherwise. Lol.

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          • D. Says:

            It really depends on what you want out of the situation and how secure you are in your interactions with the other person. If you’re looking for something “official” that has a title like “boyfriend/girlfriend” then eventually this will come up one way or the other. If you’re more into the the experience though, maybe the title is less of a concern. Do you want a “boyfriend/girlfriend” or do you want someone you can have an awesome time with, without regard to “official status”? That’s not meant to be snarky either. It’s an honest question that people in this situation may want to ask themselves. What do they really want and what will make them happy?

            Some of this may also depend on how secure you are in your own attractiveness and how you feel about your relationship with the other person. Maybe they give you enough back emotionally that you don’t really care about the title; you know things are good. Or maybe you’re “official” and you still don’t trust them. It can go either way.

            The way I see it, you can drive yourself crazy worrying about whether the other person is into you, but that’s usually more about your own self esteem and not trusting that they’re interested. Likewise, you can try to guess if you’re “in competition” with anyone else, but the way I see it, it doesn’t matter. If they’re into you, they’ll keep dating you. Doesn’t really matter if they’re dating someone else or just looking around or are “official” with you. They can always lose interest somehow, whether because they’re currently dating around or because you just aren’t what they’re looking for. So, I don’t sweat the “competition” angle. They like me or they don’t. They’ll keep dating me or they won’t. Past that, whether I keep at it is just a question of whether I’m satisfied in the situation and enjoying myself.

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        theres nothing wrong with telling him what her feelings are and what she would like.
        True, provided her feelings and expectations are reasonable given the current state of the relationship. It’s healthy for people to express where they’re at and what direction they want to go–and let the other person do the same.

        Note that while it’s okay to say you want someone to do X, it’s not okay to say that if they don’t do X then you’ll do (or not do) Y. Most people do not react well to ultimatums, which is what the latter is. Even though the former may have the same result of Y in the end, it doesn’t have the same coercive tone.

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    • Jane Says:

      I completely 100% agree with DrivingMeNutes. If you have to ask and plot out how to get a guy to do something – its because he doesnt want to! He hasnt taken down his profile because he has no intention to right now. He isnt seeing you more often because he doesnt want to – schedule is just an excuse here because if it was just a matter of obligations you’d be hearing from him and be reassured of his interest in progressing. The only choice you have here is to continue to wait in hopes that he begins to see you as more serious relationship material (unlikely if he’s been a ditherer till now) or realize that he’s just not that invested in you or your future. Personally, Id take all the evidence here and cut my losses and better spend my time on someone who is showing equal levels of interest and effort into progressing.

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  4. noquay Says:

    My schedule involves working till 9 four nights a week. It’s what works for my non traditional age student population. That means I have mornings free for the most part. The person I am currently seeing lives 100 miles away, we see each other twice a week and talk on the phone in between. I also run a small farm, cut my own firewood, am building a small building, albeit slowly. This week we’re gonna plant trees and haul dirt. Last weekend I helped buy plants for and helped put in some of his gardens. Not all time together needs to be wining and dining. Something’s off here. He may see you only as something casual. You seem to have more needs than he. So he works nights on weekends, you cannot see one another during the day? What about during the week. Since when does the removal of profiles get to be a milestone? Wanna take your profile down, take it down and be done with it.

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  5. Bogey44 Says:

    Here’s the thing, if your cool breezy girl than you want whatever comes and are cool with letting him define the relationship when he’s ready. Clearly you’re not, but just because you’re not doesn’t mean you’re the clingy chick. There’s no straddling this line but instead resigning yourself to the fact that you’re “decisive knows-what-she-wants girl.” So you need to be clear on what it is you want and how reasonable it is for this guy. Wanting to be exclusive and see him more often is reasonable, but asking him to stop working weekends may not be. By this point you should have an idea of what his work schedule is like and how compatible it is with yours. If it’s possible for you to see each other more than once a week suggest it to him. If you want to be exclusive tell him you really like him and want to be exclusive with him. Sure you’re putting yourself or there and there’s a chance he won’t want that but so what? If he doesn’t want a serious relationship and you do then it’s bound to fall apart eventually. Better sooner rather than later so if it doesn’t work out you aren’t eating each others time.

    Being the cool easy going chick may seem attractive to men, but knowing what you want and being honest about it is even more so. Guys, especially older guys, don’t want to play a guessing game with you and wonder how happy your are with the current relationship and where you want to go in the future. No, they’re much more attracted to a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it.

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  6. James Says:

    I work for a government agency that requires me to be on call 5 nights a week. I work odd hours and need to be where I am required when the weather or other disturbances occur. I am compensated very well for this and I have benefits and perks that most people only wish they had.

    However, this does cut into my social life including dating. I have lost many opportunities due to this but I don’t care. I would never change my schedule or circumstance for a woman. That’s just the way it is.

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    • RC Says:

      Never say never :D

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    • Bogey44 Says:

      And that’s really just the thing… Your work circumstances are what they are. For some people that may be a turn off, but others can make it work if they’re interested enough to do so. In the OP’s case, the only reference is made to weekend nights, so if things are going as great as she says and she’d like to see him more what has she done/can she do to work around his schedule to have more time together. And as for exclusivity, as I said before the only way to accomplish that is to be decisive and openly communicate the desire and hope he feels the same way. If not, it just was just not meant to be.

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  7. Cool Girl Says:

    Hey, OP here, thanks for the feedback! A few answers and additional information:

    -Him changing his schedule is not an option, nor would I push for that. I work a standard 9-5 and I travel a good bit for work. I just want to make it in to more of his free time plans.

    -I’m not going to be able to convince strangers on the internet that I really am cool and breezy or not. But I guess the reason I described myself that way is because I have a sensitivity to it because my coworker is the definition of scary clingy chick, and I see daily in her what I don’t want to be. You always worry about it rubbing off, you know?

    -Both of us are divorced, and there is NO push for a ring, or to even be Facebook official. Neither of us wants kids. Both of our splits are very similar (we were both cheated on), so that’s why I don’t like the still having the profile being up after we’ve both said we’re not sleeping with anyone else, because it scares me to think I’m going to be replaced again. I’m also a huge advanced planner and like to have things organized and defined (which I’m sure will get me a control comment, but I can’t convince you if I am or not, so whatever). I’m also traditional in that I like the guy to take the lead on planning dates and starting the talk… but that’s my problem and I just need to deal with it being 2013.

    Anyway, I wrote the letter because I mostly wanted a pep talk that after dating for 3 months that seeing someone more than once a week and taking down profiles are reasonable expectations, and maybe even a few starter seeds for the conversation. I also appreciate the candid comments to the contrary that “maybe this” and “maybe that” so I know what to consider.

    I’m going to talk to him and I know that I’m willing to accept the same level of seriousness with this guy and still seeing him only once a week if he says he really likes me, I’m not OK with the seeing other people and keeping profiles up. He’s a great guy and we seem really compatible, so I hope it works out.

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    • Bogey44 Says:

      Thanks for the clarifications. I was one of the people who was a little tough on you for the cool and breezy thing, and after reading your clarification I have a better understanding of what you meant by that. I’m a big fan of honesty and what I’ll call “strategic vulnerability.” What I mean by that is that as a guy I’ve been in situations where I thought a girl was fine with the status quo and therefore saw no need to initiate any sort of “talk” just to have it blow up later because I never figured out on my own that she wanted me to clearly define the relationship. My point being that if I’ve been seeing someone for a while and I like them I appreciate the honesty and vulnerability necessary for her to tell me how she feels and what she wants much more than her sitting back and expecting me to telepathically figure out her desires and then getting upset when I don’t. To me being decisive I’d very different than being clingy and honestly I don’t like having to be the one to initiate everything.

      Anyway, it sounds like you have this all figured out and are on the right path. I hope it goes well for you!

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  8. Crotch Rocket Says:

    I’d like to see him more often, and for us to both get off OKC, but I don’t want to ruin my “cool girl” cred by bringing up the relationship talk. Any tips on how to do this while balancing getting my needs met and not coming across as a scary clingy chick?
    Few guys are going to have a problem with you saying that you enjoy spending time together and want to do it more often, particularly if there’s sex involved. If he’s enjoying your company as much as you enjoy his, that should come naturally over time. Assuming he has any more time to give, of course.

    As to taking down his profile, what you need to ask yourself is why he might think a date with someone else (possibly a first date with a complete stranger) is a better investment of his scarce time than a date with you? People commit when they think they’ve already got the best option available to them. Is that you? If not, why, and what (if anything) can you do about it?

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