Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Asking a man out - why does it never work long-tern for me?

(43 Posts)
allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 01:16:25

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!

badinage Fri 08-Feb-13 22:06:50

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.

Mumsyblouse Fri 08-Feb-13 21:26:02

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.

MechanicalTheatre Fri 08-Feb-13 21:12:47

"Men don't buy the cow when the milk is free."

My man did. How do you square that circle?

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 21:05:16

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.

MechanicalTheatre Fri 08-Feb-13 21:03:51

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.

badinage Fri 08-Feb-13 21:00:25

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. wink

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 20:52:40

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 grin

MechanicalTheatre Fri 08-Feb-13 18:56:19

"made the first mice" - MOVE, obv.

sarahseashell Fri 08-Feb-13 18:54:39

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'

MechanicalTheatre Fri 08-Feb-13 16:00:19

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.

allaflutter Fri 08-Feb-13 13:45:19

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.

bestsonever Fri 08-Feb-13 13:15:27

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.

allaflutter Fri 08-Feb-13 12:07:35

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.

allaflutter Fri 08-Feb-13 11:53:27

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 grin?

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.

MechanicalTheatre Fri 08-Feb-13 01:47:28

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.

wordyBird Fri 08-Feb-13 01:37:01

...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 blush

badinage Fri 08-Feb-13 01:06:07

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.

Middy86 Fri 08-Feb-13 00:57:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

allaflutter Fri 08-Feb-13 00:38:28

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? grin But if he agrees to just friendship, then what?

Chandras Thu 07-Feb-13 23:59:03

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.

allaflutter Thu 07-Feb-13 23:33:35

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 shock. 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 confused! 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.
Oh well.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sat 02-Feb-13 15:29:44

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.

Pan Sat 02-Feb-13 15:09:16

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

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 15:07:52

thanks, Keep!

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 15:06:14

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 shock? 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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now