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Asking a man out - why does it never work long-tern for me?(43 Posts)
Quite a trivial issue, but I'd appreciate to hear others' experiences, and maybe also what am I doing wrong. If you find this self-indulgent - sorry, but this is my (single for two yrs) life... and I want a partner, feel ready for it.
I'm quite passionate by nature, and if I like a man (which isn't that often lately) I tend to have no patience whatsoever, and although I do hold back a little, I mainly tend to show interest and if I'm not being asked out fast, I do it myself - literally I find waiting pointless and boring. Often, if a guy's single, he'd come on a date, in the past I had some flings starting like this, but invariably this never leads to a long relationship. With those who asked me out, or those where I felt strong enough to grit my teeth until he asked me, it did develop into relationships.
I often hear that The Rules are nonsense, and also read on MN that some women asked a man out and lived happily ever after. I'm just wondering what ELSE have they done after this, that I'm not doing right.
I'm posting now because guess what - I'm itching to ask someone out who I know for sure likes me, but I have no idea whether he's single, and can't just ask until I know he's interested in dating. I've only just met him, twice, but we really have fallen into these long enjoyable chats where we don't really want to stop, all this in work-related place, but we don't work together. He also lingers gazing at me, and I kept the eye contact for a while too. There is also e-mailing, slightly more than necessary.
The odd thing is, he mentioned in an e-mail that I 'might need a drink' next time he sees me (for my effort with something) which I assumed was a subtle invite - I said 'yes, I think I will need one', and was hoping that he'll suggest to go out for coffee after my visit, or at least offer me a drink at his office, but when i turned up he never mentioned it even though again we've fallen into a long chat. He stood really close to me, personal space not social. I'm worried he's a married randy older guy. But as I do like him a lot, I want to know for sure. If he's single, why the heck not just ask me out, or follow up on that drink comment? What's wrong with men that they're so slow and unconfident? I hope he's not married as he has been quite flirty and seemed not to mind that colleagues see him chatting to me for yons - they all king of looked and smiled the first time round when he stayed behing with me at the closing hour. So should I ask him out?
It never worked before for me, so am very jaded about it, but I just can't sit and wait for weeks till he gathers courage, while it's clear to me there is attraction. Should add that I really am not looking for casual sex, I like him as we seem to be on same wavelength. He is however older than me, I'm guessing 15yrs or so. Would an older man expect a woman to initiate, as possibly he asumes I'm just being friendly? I thought I won't ask a man out ever again as it never worked, but should I in this case - OR should I just control myself and let him lead the way?? Just fed up with being clueless at dating. Thanks if you've read the whole thing!
My thoughts are to do what works for you, and don't pay too much attention to other people's rules or lack thereof. If jumping straight in doesn't usually work for you, but something else does, well...
In your position I might find a need to ask his advice about something, preferably something detailed. Then ask if he'll join you for coffee as you've some paperwork to look over (eg). In this way, if you find he's in a relationship, no harm is done. If not, you've paved the way for him to make some effort.
The Rules are bollocks. I practically threw myself at DH and note, he is a DH. However, I always treat myself as important.
I think what you do is not ask them out. You create a date like environment that works for you. He may be worried he will seen like a dirty old man so you may need to hint strongly. Say you are going for a drink (prep your friends) and go as a group.
thank you wordy and MrsT. Glad to hear positive advice - was expecting people to tell me off for not controlling myself better !
So essentially, you both advise to invite him for a drink but under some pretence, not just like that. I was thinking, maybe I should joke about his mentioning a drink earlier, and saying something like 'have you forgotten about your offer', or is this pushy? But I will try something.
Group is not really an option tbh, he'll feel even older in a younger group and I'd be self concsious in front of friends with a new guy who I don't really know. Is that how you threw yourself at dh, MrsT? glad it worked for you, yo u must be very gregarious, which I'm not (and which would really help sometimes).
I could ask him in an e-mail (which atm is more frequent than meetings) whether he's married, but probably bad idea (?).
Oh come on, it's easy to find out if someone's single during a chat! You just ask questions about what they've done over the weekend, where they live, whether they've got kids etc. before building up to asking them straight out if they are in a relationship. I don't think asking someone those questions instantly tells them you fancy the arse off them - FFS I ask questions like that all the time when I meet someone new! But what does it matter anyway?
Tbh, regardless of what he says I'd also be making a few checks with some mutual contacts about his status, because given his age chances are he's in a relationship.
Two mixed groups bumped into each other in our case. Sometimes you have to engineer these things a little. I am gregarious, though. You're right. DH is not so he was lucky.
Don't email to ask if he's married.
I think you need to learn patience, you seem to have unrealistic expectations of how quickly people ask someone out. People don't tend to do it in the office after a couple of meetings. Flirt a little, suss him out and see what happens if you wait a little.
I think if you do ask a man out often if he is single he will say yes as a reflex and because it's nice and a novelty, but not necessarily because he's that interested. Hence no progression.
You sound kind of exhausting. Breath.
In the short-term all very well and good getting someone to go out with you, but in the longer-term you never really know whether they would have asked you or not.
You do sound quite full-on (sorry). Why don't you try slowing down, and holding your nerve a bit. You are probably young, attractive, intelligent and witty etc etc, so why be so desperate.
You can still carry on doing what you are doing, but let him do the actual asking bit. It would be good for your piece of mind and also it's much more romantic in my opinion.
Above all you really do need to find out if he is actually free.
A bloke's perspective.
You are 15 years younger. He is partly scared of being told he's a dirty old man. He is scared of rejection (most of us are, a bit at least). Or he likes talking to you but is with someone else.
Only one way to find out, I'm afraid. Ask him. No emails, no texts, just ask him if he's seeing someone and if he says no, say that we should probably go out. Something like that.
thank you all very much! I know I sounded full-on, sorry - it's been TWO yrs of singledom so tbh I am a bit desperate, but in the sense that I genuinely want the right partner, as had chances of casual flings in these two yrs. I got a bit excited, as not only we on same wasvelength with interests and intelligence, but also I do fancy him a lot. So yes, sometimes I feel very impatient when on my own late at night .
But I'm already feeling much calmer, really helps to write it all down and get perspective, so thanks <takes chill pill>
KeepCool, your name's very apt replying to my post , and good advice - i also find it much more romantic if he asks me out. My only conflict here is what ManinBeige says, that he is unconfident due to age gap and needs it spelling out. Do men ignore their misgiving if they really fancy you?
Aliitlestranger, yes, won't e-mail. I did think that maybe as you say, older generation of men do take a bit of time. You'd be surprised how fast some men are though (my last bf asked next day of meeting me, but then again he is a bossy so-and-so as it turned out, so I've learned)
Does no one think it's a bad sign that he mentioned me needing a drink but never offered? you see, to me it indicates some inner conflict, i.e. he may not be single - or is unconfident. Will try to ask in roundabout way, badinage, as you suggest.
ManinBeige, to be fair he's not scared to stand right next to me (side by side) on his own initiative and linger in chat generally, so I'm quite sure he's attracted too, but as you say, may be just seeing it a little distraction while he's not single. You see, your advice is opposite to everyone else - and that's what I was feeling like doing, but maybe not wise. I should have been born a man - so much more freedom for action iykwim!
I should have said 'chances for casual flings', which I didn't take.
It has been a long time since I dated and I had never even heard of "the rules" at that point the more disinterested I seemed the more men seemed to ask me out.
I must admit I cannot remember analysing stuff very much though, I was a more see what happens.
Adverse, do you mean you actually were disinterested, or only pretended? I've been asked out by those I don't feel attracted to, that's no biggie to deal with.
But when you were interested, were you as cool, or made it clear somejow ? It's much easier when you are in your 20s, mind, purely as you have so much choice of single guys.
Tbh I found your impatience quite offputting and a bit scary! I think the early days with someone where you wonder whether they like you and vice versa is really lovely and I would hate someone to rush it.
I wonder whether the smiles from people who watch him chat to you could be "Christ, he's married, but he'll always chat up younger women." A kind of "he's at it again" smile.
He's 15 years older than you - this does not mean he's expecting you to ask him out. In all likelihood he is with someone. That may not stop him asking you out.
I think you're right to try to learn from the past: when you've asked people out, it's not worked out. I think a lot of men do like to feel they're doing the running. If it's handed to them on a plate they're not as interested. You've worked that out yourself but you still want to ask this bloke out.
I'd play it harder to get, then if he's married you haven't lost face. Don't reply immediately to emails. Always be the first to go when you meet up. Don't seem too eager. A lot of the rules are just common sense and self preservation.
Thanks Imperial - great advice, and yes, very much like the Rules! I assure you that this "scary impatience" doesn't show to anyone, I had an intense moment last night - as I say I don't often meet men that I'm interested in. If I were to ask him out it would've been in a playful lingt-hearted tone, not the tone of my original post .
You may be spot on with 'he's at it again' looks - I thought it may be the case too. A bit strange though if he's married not to mind what colleafues think. I think he got me a bit excited with a prospect of that drink and private chat where i was planning to ask if he's single (especially if out of the office), and it was a bit of a downer that he hasn't followed up - hence me tying myself in knots somewhat. But as I said, the feedback on here helped me to chill and to up my patience .
tbh I'm a bit at how you can manage to have lengthy conversations and NOT know if he is married or with someone. Unless you are soley discussing Latvian pig farming techniques (not a euphemism )
The age thing? Yes that would be a barrier to asking a much younger woman out. You'd instantly feel a bit of a perv or saddo if she said 'no'. BUT IF she said 'yes' you'd be the bucking young stallion again!
I had the same problem, I told my friend to tell him if he asks me out I will say yes. I was only 16 at the time. We have been together 35 years now.
Don't be too hard on yourself. We've all been there, well I definitely have anyway - not only doing the asking but lots of the chasing too. It's only with hindsight over the years that I see things very differently now, and wish I had had a bit more faith in myself.
All the best x
we talked twice but for more than an hour each time, about out mutual interests and that's quite consuming. I could talk with him for hours tbh. He also knows where I live as I shared that (not exact address!) so we discussed various places we've been to mutually, etc. Suddenly asking if he was married would be odd, but he didn't actively mention a wife. There were also people coming and going, so I was waiting for that drink to ask him this.
Hmm Pan, is 15yrs that much, to be seen as perv ? Lacking confidence - yes, but a perv is going too far surely. I'm not young as such and I think the older you get the less that difference is relevant, we have rapport too. It could be actually more than 15yrs for all I know, though he's definitely not in an old man category visually.
Maybe I was being a bit harsh on the perv thing. Yes, if you were 35 for instance and he was 50, then that would a real barrier to asking you out. 75 and 90 less so.
I have two female friends, one with an 18 year age gap with her husband and one with a 25 year age gap with her partner. They are both very much in love, get on really well and are very happy. I have never thought of it as being pervy at all.
Well, an update if anyone still bothering to read.
A bit of a rollercoster today. As advised, I didn't initiate a drink, and didn't ask whether he was married by e-mail. Have been very patient all week, knowing that I'll see him today. In the interim (one email) he mentioned he was doing some work in his garden, so i had hopes that he's single as otherwise would have likely say 'our garden'.
So went too see him today (he helped me with something work related as agreed), and after about 20min he asked me out for a drink! as in here and now, after he leaves work. I must say, felt very happy . People ARE right that if a man is really keen to see you, his anxieties about age gap etc. are not so relevant!
Still was hoping that as he's being so attentive, he may not be married. He didn't invite me loudly but it wasn't impossible that someone overhears in the office. Went for a drink, nice chat about this and that, then mpved on to where we both lived, and he mentions living in a house and I asked whether he lived alone. Guess what? He's married ! Told me they've been married for 30yrs, grown-up child lives away, but for the last 25 yrs there wasn't any spark, and that now he thinks there was never a real spark . Saying that, they care for each other 'like sister and brother', and neither has had affairs (I asked after no-spark comment whether he got involved with others). He said he'd wish the wife had an affair, I suppose to be 'allowed' to do the same. He seems very open and honest, and apart from this, he also is a very thoughtful, kind man. He was planning to move to his wife's home country for her sake a few years ago even though he was happy here, but then plans changed for health reasons.
He sounds very naive and unwordly to me - why ask me out and spell it out how loyal they are and how it's not an open marriage, and yet go on about spark and that he missed me from last week (I missed him too but didn't say). What does he actually want? He didn't say he was looking for a mistress, and I certainly have no intention entertaining him in my place on odd afternoons or odd saturdays (as he mentioned he has some free time then). He hasn't been sleezy or openly flirtatious either even though a few restrained compliments. I suppose he wants me to lead him by the hand? Or just wants a bit of female company and fantasy, but no more. If he was younger I could have hoped that he divorces of his own accord (but not start anything before he does), but it's not likely he'll go for such upheaval at this age aftert 30 yrs and also he's not wealthy at all so divorce could wipe him out a bit, all too unlikely.
The question is now, shall I attempt some light friendship with him, as we enjoy long chats and like each other, I feel very at ease with him, or not see him at all? I could easily manage friendship at this stage as his status has cooled my ardour a lot, and even though I fancied him it was nowhere near uncontrollable
as he's not some young Adonis.
It's all sad though isn't it? On the one end, single women with a lot of love/passion to offer who can't meet a single, attractive, interesting men. On the other - people stuck in passionless/no spark marriages.
No light friendship, dear. You are already half way through falling completely in
his bed love for him. The fact that being together is not possible will make things tragic and therefore you may fall deeper in love so... I can see you consenting on being the OW if you continue on this line.
Don't be fooled by his words, if he is handsome, has a status, and is 15 years older than you, he is not unworldly, he has noticdd how interested you are on him.
To make the matters worse, you work together. ... As the American say... Don't sh*t on your nest. The last thing you want is for all this to backfire and then having to deal with the situation at work.
Avoid, avoid, avoid, many men stay with a wife they are not inlove with, the nice ones end the marriage, the lazy stay in it, and the bad ones have affairs but they know they love their wives beyond the thrill of an affair, otherwise they would have left already.
thanks Chandras. Just to remind (from my long OP), I don't work with him, I had him advising/helping on something but I don't have to go in his office at all now. Also, he's not handsome, he's tall but as I say, no Adonis, just presentable. Also, status yes but not wealthy.
I think I will avoid though, for all other reasons you mention. We'll have to have a frank talk, as it would be strange to just disappear after all the contact. Not so much that I can't control myself, but he is unlikely to want just friendship and things will become awkward very soon. I got excited because I thought as a single man he could really suit me, but now it's all been quite deflated, no point in it obviously.
He baffles me though - never had affairs, and now thinking of one, what is it,' last chance saloon? But if he agrees to just friendship, then what?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Told you he was married.....
OP you don't sound very worldly wise at all.
The script he's given you could have been lifted from 'Midlife Affairs Weekly' because there's every hackneyed old cliche there from any bloke who's ever had an affair.
The spark hasn't been there for years. Check. (But 25 is taking the piss)
The spark was never really there. Check.
We're like sister and brother. Check.
If my wife had an affair it wouldn't bother me. Check.
I'd like to be friends. Check.
What does he want? An affair. He was never looking for friendship.
The only reason he hasn't had an affair before is that either he didn't want one or he never found anyone daft enough to have him.
Now he's rubbing his hands together at his luck that he's found the last chance saloon for a bit of fun that he'll never have to pay for, by leaving his (probably fine) marriage.
Don't be friends with this bloke. That's not what this was ever about for either of you. You're just a midlife ego boost to a bloke who's probably feeling that the days of wine and roses are over. That's all.
...very sorry allaflutter, that's not a good outcome for you. But hey, you were patient, you didn't take the initiative, and he did make a move: which is something to consider when you find another man you like.
You're right to go no further with this, as it would only lead to unhappiness. IMO he has had affairs before and has told you a tall story.. mentioning free time on odd afternoons sounds mightily like 'how about something on the side, are you game?' to me. I doubt if he'd openly say he was looking for a mistress.
A good man would have discreetly mentioned a wife long before now. Men aren't blind - they know if we like them
He's never had affairs, no spark with his wife, let's be friends?
OP, you go on doing what you're doing. I don't mean desperately fling yourself at a man and force things and so on. But I made it very clear to my partner that I wanted him and I wanted him NOW and we've been together for forever. It didn't put him off. If they are right for you, you will just be honest and natural together.
thanks all! I don't know why would he rubbing his hands with glee - yes, I like hom but I'm not going to sleep with him. badinage I did question him when he said there was no spark and no affairs - did say I find it hard to believe, especially as he seemed quite at ease with me, not embarassed or stressed about going for a drink. So really he seems a little practiced. That said, I don't think he's a womaniser, he's generally very open and chatty with people and they like him, but he's not some charasmatic guy who women fall for in big numbers. He's quite naive in a way, and yes it cou-uld be true he had no affairs, as also had health problems few years ago. At best he is just after a bit of chat and fantasy. At worst possibly did have an affair before but not confessing (well, he only just met me tbh).
When I said he was unworldly, I meant he did mention his wife quite a bit, and generally not in a negative way. I had married/attached men coming on to me in the past, and they really try not to mention the wife - why would you? If a woman wanted to be an OW she wouldn't want sitting there talking about his wife. He mentioned her home country, her personality, her hair colour,the only negative as such was that they don't share many interests... talked about his son a lot. This what made me think we could have a light friendship, and that he is a bit eccentric if anything. On the other hand he is very intelliegent generally speaking, so yes, it's best to be cautious about his motives.
To be fair I do have a friend (long standing) who was after an affair for a while, but I didn't go there, and after a very bumpy period when he was upset, we did become friends. He did tell me early on he would like a mistress (genuinely in his case, no sex with wife for about 7 years and it's semi-open, I met her btw). But I understand that this is unusual. He does generally stay friends with his exes, and wife ok with that, and has many female friends, but don't think it's the case with this guy.
Mechanical good to hear that it worked for you! I kind of also think that it all depends on personalities, and some men really prefer leadership from women. I think I personally will stay a bit cautious with this, unless I blatantly see that the guy is very shy. Did you just grabbed and kissed him then ?
wordy you are right, in a way it gave me a boost, haven't been asked for ages, only on dating sites which is not the same as they don't see you or know you (I rarely go). So yes, even though he's not an option, I feel I may be not too hopeless in real life dating, it's nice to be asked out directly.
btw, I don't think 'no spark' means no sex as such. Lots of couples with no emotional/passionate spark have occasional sex, but it's not very passionate. So I assumed that of course they were not sexless for the whole of 25 yrs, just not for a while. It does amaze me peole live for years like that. He says they don't have much to talk about in the evenings, live like siblings, but that he has a strong sense of duty to care for the wife unless she ups and leaves first. All weird to me, I'm too modern I suppose, couldn't stay in a dull relationship. I think older men are scared of being single tbh.
The important bit of your op is the mention about being impatient. What you have done this time is ask MN, found out if he is attached, then been able to make rational decisions about it, which is a good way to go, and all before jumping into bed with him.
Why being 'impatient and passionate' gets you nowhere and gets you hurt after, is that you find out all the bad stuff about each other after the physical bit has happened and clouded the judgement about what to do.
Get to know a person before jumping in is always the best way to go, the passion will still be there with the right person further down the line, and rectifying a mistake is so much easier to deal with when you haven't yet been physical.
yes, that's true best, and I'm learning. it's against my nature (well not so much now that I'm older, I now look for personality match first of all) but I do end up feeling better and more confident when I manage to restain myself. I used to be hopeless in my 20s/early 30s, and did get hurt every single time after jumping into sex with men. NOw it's less of a physical impatience but more fantasising very quickly about the future and living with a guy, as I do want a relationship. My mind runs away with me, when I see someone compatible in interests and personality, and is reasonably attractive, easy to picture a life with. As I say, it's time something good happened after two years and a couple of mistakes right before then. I do feel a bit deflated as he came close to being a 'candidate', but I'm not cut oyt at all to be an OW, apart from moral reasons. Either we are together, or we are not, don't want anything hazy, or being secondary. I think being OW is very much being controlled by a man, fitting in his life when convenient to HIM.
I think he made the first mice, he thinks I made the first move. He is very self confident, at least outwardly, and likes women who are the same. I think if you hang around being sappy and following stupid rules, you shouldn't be surprised if you end up with someone you're not actually compatible with, and who wants you to be compliant in the rest of your relationship.
look it's simple - if a bloke likes you and is single he'll ask you out.
if he's not asking you out he's either 1) married or in a relationship or 2) not that interested.
even shy men who don't like being rejected etc end up asking people out if they like them enough.
OP you do sound a bit like you'd take any man at the mo- just take time to develop your own interests and friendships and you'll meet someone quite naturally and attract decent people. 2 years is not that long to be single tbh. Just forget all about this guy and back right off. His jaded lines are bullshit and from his colleagues' 'looks' you're most probably not the first. No doubt his wife is oblivious to their
made up marriage 'problems'
"made the first mice" - MOVE, obv.
Men, on the whole, don't like 'full on' and dare I say aggressive women. Some do of course but most don't I don't care ho the media tells us society has moved on, men like to do the asking at their own pace. A pushy woman is seen as needy at best and a bit of disposable meat at worst.
And I shall be shot for quaint and old fashioned attitudes, but 'hooking' a bloke you like is a skill. Bull in a china siop generally doesnt have the desired effect. Softly softly catchee monkey as they say
I'd rephrase that and say that "sexist and misogynist men and women don't like assertive women. They call assertiveness 'aggression' or 'pushiness' whereas similar behaviour in men would be called 'assertiveness' and 'going for what he wants'"
So if you actually want to 'hook' a man like that, you'll get a whole load of sexism and misogyny into the bargain, so be careful what you wish for.
What badinage said.
At least I know that my partner is not going to turn around and ask me to be less vociferous in my opinions. He knew what he was getting from the start - many lesser men have fled for the hills, and a bloody good job, too.
You can legislate in a breath - evolution takes a lot longer. In the conquest for 'equality' women have forgotten how to be canny.
Men don't buy the cow when the milk is free.
FWIW I am incerdibly assertive and I always get what I want - but then I also know how to play the game - be that personally or politically at work. Bolshy gets no one anywhere.
"Men don't buy the cow when the milk is free."
My man did. How do you square that circle?
I think it is sensible to hold fire not because of some outdated notion of the man being the pursuer, but for your own benefit, to protect yourself both physically and emotionally until you know for sure what the person is all about. This is what you have done this time, and thank goodness for that, as he's no catch, that's for sure with his lines about his loveless marriage (why not finish it then after 25 years if it's so boring?) You are younger, undoubtedly prettier, and it probably felt fun to flirt with you. But luckily you found out he's not available which means you can still find someone nice rather than wasting emotional energy into a no-go situation.
If you want to find out if someone is good enough for you, you need a little while to find out, meet them a few times, meet their friends, perhaps hear about how they work/cope with stress/have fun. Throwing yourself at people (and I don't mean sexually, who cares if you have sex straight away, I'm talking about emotional incontinence here) without checking the person is 'one of the good guys' and also free and wants to build a long term relationship is guaranteed heartache and disaster.
I've never needed to be 'bought' myself and I've never needed to be 'canny' in relationships. Just straight with people. It's served me very well. People know where they stand with me. And assertiveness isn't about 'getting what you want'. It's about getting your own needs met without trampling over others' rights and needs.
Women who play games aren't assertive. They are manipulative, which is something entirely different. It's a form of passive-aggression.
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