How Slow to Take It?
Q: Six years ago, when I was 20, I dated a guy who I thought was "the one." The feelings were definitely mutual, but our relationship went too fast too soon and we ended up going our separate ways. We both went on to marry, and both of our spouses left us to be with other people. This guy and I ran into each other a month ago and spent a few great weeks together. We decided that we would get to know each other again and take things slow and see where they lead. But now I haven't heard from him in a little over a week. Should I take this as a hint that he's changed his mind about a reconciliation? I know a few of his family members are in very poor health and his focus is directed to their care. Still, I've left two messages for him that have gone unreturned. Should I get on with my life? Or should I live up to my agreement of taking things slow and practice some patience? -- Becky
Dr. Susan: He hasn't called for a week and you're already in a hurry to give up on him? Taking things slow and getting to know one another all over again means exactly that. Give him a little space, especially if you know he's tied up with caring for sick family. Of course that doesn't mean you ought to ignore genuine signs of disinterest. I agree with you that he could have briefly returned your call, but not everyone feels the urgent need to respond to every phone call or e-mail right away. Different people have different response rates, and that's part of what it means to get to know someone. If you think he's hinting about something, ask him outright (but wait a while before leaving a third message!). Most guys don't really hint about wanting to leave. They simply disappear. A week means very little in the larger scheme of things.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.