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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!

wordyBird Sat 02-Feb-13 01:40:28

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. wink 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.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 02-Feb-13 01:45:28

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.

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 02:18:00

thank you wordy and MrsT. Glad to hear positive advice - was expecting people to tell me off for not controlling myself better blush!

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 (?).

badinage Sat 02-Feb-13 03:09:26

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.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 02-Feb-13 05:55:21

Two mixed groups bumped into each other in our case. smile Sometimes you have to engineer these things a little. I am gregarious, though. You're right. DH is not so he was lucky.

Alittlestranger Sat 02-Feb-13 07:38:38

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.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sat 02-Feb-13 11:31:12

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.

ManInBeige Sat 02-Feb-13 11:39:15

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.

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 12:43:59

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 grin.

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 grin, 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 grin - so much more freedom for action iykwim!

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 12:47:58

I should have said 'chances for casual flings', which I didn't take.

Adversecamber Sat 02-Feb-13 12:55:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 13:08:01

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.

ImperialBlether Sat 02-Feb-13 13:26:39

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.

allaflutter Sat 02-Feb-13 14:30:55

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 grin.

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 wink.

Pan Sat 02-Feb-13 14:49:44

tbh I'm a bit hmm 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 grin)

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!

sydlexic Sat 02-Feb-13 14:55:17

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.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sat 02-Feb-13 15:05:30


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

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.

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

thanks, Keep!

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

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.

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.

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 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?

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