Is He Shy or Just Boring?

Q: I've been dating this very sweet guy for a few months now, if you want to call it that. We met online, have had several dates, and talk on the phone from time to time. After our second date he sent me a text message saying he wanted to kiss me, but he wanted to approach it cautiously. Heart melting, huh? My issue is this: he's so shy! I find myself sitting at the phone thinking of things to say, and then getting a little peeved because I feel like I have to carry the conversation. I really like him, so how can I get him to warm up? -- Rochelle, 23

Dr. Susan: There's a difference between shy and dull. Okay, that's not fair: Your guy may be quite lively deep beneath his shy exterior, but he's not much of a communicator. I recently heard of a couple who married after dating half a year, and then the wife got fed up within two months when she realized that being married wasn't making her husband any more talkative than he had been before. She was utterly bored and wanted out.

Think about it: If the two of you have so little to say to one another this early in the relationship, what does that tell you about the future? But you seem to want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Let's agree he's shy. What do you do to move things along? You can let him know it's safe to speak freely with you, to say whatever he wants and you won't holler at him or think less of him. Learn to ask open-ended questions so he has to answer at length ("Tell me about when you were in elementary school. What do you remember?"). Be honest and tell him you're getting tired of carrying the conversational ball. Try talking with him less frequently and see if there's more to catch up on when you do talk. If none of those actions make a difference, try him again in five years when he's had a little more life experience and thus more to say.

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