Q: Hey Pella,
I've had 4 dates with a guy named Matthew whom I met at a party. I like him. I'm not head over heels, but I'm definitely feeling cautious in general right now and I'm interested to get to know him better.
My question is, after each date he has not followed up, so I have. And then he asks me out again. But I decided after our most recent date that I was going to see if I don't follow up if he still does. So far he has not. And our date was Sat night. He's definitely not a very aggressive type person, but am I wrong to assume that if he's really interested and motivated, he would follow up? Or maybe I set up the pattern by following up after our first date so now he expects me to. Either way, not sure what to do. I'm not into playing games.
He said on our last date he'd like me to come over and he'll make dinner and I said ok, sounds good. But no follow up.
In case you're wondering, he's kissed me goodnight at the end of the last 3 dates and it was nice :)
Is the generally given dating advice to let the guy lead still good advice?
A: Dear Jacqui,
I encourage you to wait for Matthew to follow up from the date. Not because he is the man and therefore he always has to take the lead. (I think that's a lot of pressure that is placed on men unfairly.) But because you have been taking on a lot of the heavy lifting of being vulnerable by being the one to follow up after each date and it is his 'turn' to reach out to you.
On the one hand, I don't believe in tit-for-tat and you shouldn't have to keep tabs on whose turn it is (to text or to call or whatever). Ideally, your relationship is one of generosity and ease and each person is putting in the emotional energy to keep things going and make it work.
That said, early on I do think it's important to establish a pattern of equitability. You shouldn't have to be the one reaching out after each date, and he shouldn't have to be the one always asking you out. For some women it can be hard to wait for a man to reach out to them - your anxiety can spike pretty high while wondering if he will text you. It's so hard! It's also really good practice to sit back and allow the other person to come towards you - regardless of gender.
It's great to take the burden off of men for initiating contact and dates. If they can't handle you reaching out to them sometimes they are probably not going to be interested in a powerful woman like you. (And they might not be ready for a relationship at all). I think it's great that you followed up with him. Just make sure to give him the space to reach out to you, too. Let him share the burden of vulnerability, just like you were willing to share it with him.
Keep me posted.
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