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Dating & Relationships

A mistake I watch my friends make (and one I have definitely made myself) is throwing themselves into a relationship too fast, too soon.

It is easy to be overly enthusiastic about someone new, especially if they’re paying lots of attention to you. (Who doesn’t love attention?)

But what happens when you throw yourself into a relationship, you go out every night and then the guy bails after a few weeks? This break-up is hard to understand especially when he was the one initiating the calls and texts. With everything going so well, you wonder: “What did I do wrong?”

Technically nothing.

Zoë Foster in Textbook Romance writes, “One of the fundamental laws of courtship is this: men will always try to speed things up and women will always need to slow them down. … To many women this is attractive, because it feels like the guy is so into you that he simply cannot wait to lock you down. And sometimes it is attractive. But that still doesn’t mean you should allow him to dictate how quickly this happens.”

A year before my husband and I officially dated we had a “thing” (for lack of a better word). You know, that thing where you’re not really dating, but hanging out like you are.

During this time I would try to have those awkward conversations and ask: “Where is this going?” The response was always “I don’t know.” So after that last negative response, I told him to never speak to me again. Don’t text, don’t call, don’t email (it took a lot of self-control not to respond to him).

This silent treatment went on for 14 months until we saw each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party. You can imagine my surprise when he approached me to say he’s sorry for being such a jerk face. Of course I was still wary, but I allowed him to explain.

This is when the prolific texting/emailing/communicating started. After more than a year of silence I felt overwhelmed by the constant flow of attention. With God’s inspiration (and Zoë Foster’s wisdom) I put a stop to it right away.

I told him he could only contact me on the weekends and Wednesdays. He also had to give me at least three days heads up if he wanted me to go out on a date with him. After being rejected by him twice before, I felt he needed to really prove he was serious this time.

In the past I was always afraid to make any sort of demand on any guy (because us girls are often too afraid of being perceived as demanding because if we are, the guy will walk), but this time I didn’t care. I had a more cautious attitude and if he didn’t like it, then he could leave.

But he didn’t leave.

Zoë Foster explains: “A good man will be cool with you wanting to slow things down. … What men should realize is that you’re actually doing them a favor by pumping the brakes. You’re prolonging the attraction, the fun and the excitement and, most importantly, providing them with—you guessed it—a challenge.”

Well, my husband fell into the category of a good man. And after a few weeks of Wednesdays and the weekends, Lent came around and I decided it would be a good idea to give him up for Lent as well, so we only talked on Sundays. Immediately after Lent we started dating and the rest is history.

Of course, my example is a bit more extreme, but it is important for girls to realize that it’s not necessarily about playing hard to get, but letting the guy realize that you are a treasure.

If you start dating a guy who wants to go 100mph it is important to pace yourself. Because even if he bails, at least you didn’t give a piece of yourself before he disappeared.

So remember girls, it’s not about a game, its about protecting your heart and showing men that you are worth being pursued.

She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is a woman, therefore to be won. ~Shakespeare

(This post has been read 11,781 times)

54 Comments

  1. Douglas-984666 July 23, 2013

    I’ll have to disagree with most of what this article says. A good relationship should be a partnership of equality; placing the woman on a pedestal and expecting the man to “prove himself worthy” creates inequality. It’s not always the man who takes the woman for granted, or pressures the woman for sex, or cheats. Sometimes (and often times) it happens the other way around.

    • Denise T. July 24, 2013

      You’re absolutely right. Now, I also agree that couples, no matter what type of attraction they feel for one another should be quick to jump into bed, but geesh…..

      This is not the 50s. Restricting communication to certain days? And “giving” a man/woman “up” for Lent? Puh-LEESE!

      *LOL*

  2. Catherine Frank
    Catherine Frank July 23, 2013

    A “good” relationship should indeed be a partnership of equality. However, in the initial stages of dating it’s very easy for women to get swept away by the attention and new emotions. I think women have a responsibility to guard themselves until they know if a relationship is going in the right direction or not. Also, putting some demands on men will show if they have the wherewithal to have a serious relationship that might develop into a good marriage. I don’t think the writer is putting men down, but rather warning women to be careful.

    • Mary-870064 July 23, 2013

      I agree with Catherine, we have to have time to decern, and be completly honest with each other. Thats where prayer comes in.

  3. Marge-938695 July 23, 2013

    The article assumes that people are immature and foolish.
    There are no rules. A couple makes their own pace, and whoever pursues, pursues.
    The trick is to not let emotions trump good sense.

    • Julie-362086 July 23, 2013

      In my opinion,
      Marge hit it dead on. :)

    • Denise T. July 24, 2013

      Yes, Marge. Exactly. And playing those silly “communication days?” Immature.

    • Sandra-202758 August 22, 2013

      Yup.

  4. Kieran-986231 July 23, 2013

    I think there is much wisdom to this traditional way of exploring a relationship. Perhaps I feel that way because I have had this experience with my ex-husband before we were married. While he did come around and got serious, that foundation of our relationship felt shaky because I felt like it was I who helped make it a committed relationship and if it was up to him, he would have left things loose. He felt like he would lose me if he didn’t commit, and so it was like I twisted his arm rather than him fully deciding he wanted it for himself. Women want to be pursued and men want to pursue, typically. But taking it slow really helps calm the “primal” attraction and brings to light the true nature of the relationship.

  5. Sara-329369 July 23, 2013

    GREAT blog. I completely agree, having been burned in the past by those who would snow you and leave you. Going too fast creates a sort of hothouse atmosphere which is conducive to romantic self-deception and mutual self-deception.

  6. Tina-928600 July 23, 2013

    My husband,died 3 years ago. Married of 40 years. We just a penpal of 3 year writing each other. We meet in person spend time 11 days. We like its other we got engage for a year. And got married the next year. This time ,I really don’t know how to approach the man. I never dated a man since my husband death. So as ladies, we have to be carefull.

    • Dana-992923 July 25, 2013

      Dear Tina,
      You are a brave, intelligent woman, venturing out after a long love filled marriage. Serving as a positive role model, to less experienced eyes.
      Your testimony is of true love.
      We read, biblically that love is patient, and this trait you possess. ( as does Heather )
      And, your grand heart holds plenty more love that you wish to give. Having the time true
      knowledge of what it takes to keep a marriage.
      This must be attractive to many like minded men!
      You have loved, of course,
      this is the natural way of your wifely heart.
      And, so your talent of writing
      eventually lead to love and a long marriage. It seems to me
      you have chosen a place with
      CM to communicate with
      interesting men around the world. Writing is the first step in
      in our community.
      It may be you need only transfer your talent to the modern keyboard !?
      What a beautiful and, very safe avenue, to share with others.
      Bravely, explore new territory.
      New gentleman.
      I applaud your method. We can learn so much of one another
      during the quiet moments of
      reflective writing. A time when
      prayer and faith guide the heart.
      Sitting quietly with Jesus by our side.
      Thank you for sharing these wise words! With a current culture often spinning far too quickly.
      Your forthright honesty and word are impactful.
      May, God Bless Your journey!
      ~ Dana

  7. Alma-953915 July 23, 2013

    I believe this article was great. Too often I was afraid to be seen as too demanding if I spoke what I really felt. In my last relationship, I finally communicated in a nice way what bothered me, and then he left. It really scarred me. He saw it as too demanding and decided to leave. It’s taken a while to finally accept that he just didn’t want to mature. I’ve learned it is best to slow things down and to treat myself as a treasure. If a person ignores my feelings and doesn’t care about my self-esteem, then he’s not worth thinking about having a future with. I’ve reached a point where I don’t care what a guy thinks of me anymore. If it leads for me to being single forever, then at least I’ll have treated myself with respect.

  8. Joseph-714567 July 23, 2013

    If I were that guy, I’d be outta there asap. I guess that’s why I’m single.

  9. Ann-69118 July 23, 2013

    I agree with some and disagree with other parts of what she is saying. I think a guy should take the lead and pursue the lady on the same side a lady or anyone really needs to guard their heart and get to know the person before investing a lot of emotions there. Also I’m not into playing games I detest that kind of thing as bording on dishonest or controlling tactics ….just not good if you want a real loving relationship with someone. I think the main key is just not making your life all about the other person. Living your life and including them. I usually make my plans far in advance if the guys want to join me the more the merrier if not then they can see me when I’m done I wouldn’t expect anyone else to totally revise their schedule either. I let them know when I’m available if they call they call if not I move on.

  10. Jeffrey-976998 July 23, 2013

    Good advice for a woman who’s dealing with a guy who is mired in doubt and lacks the ability to properly express himself. But if you try this on a guy who’s honest, emotive, and has his heart set on giving everything he is to you, then prepare to be hoisted by your own petard.

    My point is that it is necessary to tailor the solution to the particular problem. The heavy-handed “solution” in this article is for a very specific situation.

    If there is a difficulty, then it must be presented it to him. It’s extremely unfair to hold it back. If he’s worthy, he’ll listen and devise his own solution; possibly one that might end up being better than anything you could have shoved down his throat.

    There is no lack of ornate, yet empty, treasure chests out there. The best way to prove you are a real treasure? Actually be one.

    • Beth-72537 July 23, 2013

      Well said, Jeffrey!

    • William-607613 July 24, 2013

      Spot on, Jeffrey. She had been burned by this person twice, so clearly the situation required a specific remedy.

      I don’t know the ages of the two parties involved, but I cannot imagine a relationship being on pause for 14 months while one person gave the other the silent treatment.

      Could you meet someone this way? Sure. But are you into such a person because he or she had patience, or because he or she was the only one left standing after all that time.

      • Teresa-525463 July 26, 2013

        If these were the dating dynamics, I can’t imagine the marriage dynamics!

        • Jack-131359 July 27, 2013

          The dynamics are that he’s wussed out. For now.
          Eventually, the real him will return, but she’ll be older and probably fatter.
          Not in a good bargaining position, anyway.
          On the other hand, perhaps they deserve each other.
          I’ll stick to giving up steak for Lent. Much less drama. LOL
          Good luck, Heather.
          I truly hope I’m wrong!

    • Dave-146273 July 27, 2013

      Kudos on your response!

  11. Joyce-891806 July 23, 2013

    I think that as we get older the art of a man pursuing a woman is almost lost. There are way too many women that chase men and of course the attention, they get lazy. I would hope that the opposite would be true in that a man takes pride in pursuing a woman. I did have one communication several years ago in which I made the first contact to a gentleman. I was pleasantly surprised for his most gentlemanly response. ” Thank you for the inquiry, I am flattered, but I am presently pursuing a wonderful gal that I recently met” . That had to be the best turn down I ever received and I was grateful for his honesty.

  12. Beth-72537 July 23, 2013

    Am I the only one who actually laughed out loud at her writing “jerk face”? Ha!

    • Jack-131359 July 27, 2013

      Uh, probably not.
      But I doubt you were joined by many MEN!
      She lost ME right about there.

  13. Joe-786218 July 24, 2013

    It’s not only I who have “something to prove” to her as I pursue her … it’s also she has “something to prove” that she is worthy of my pursuit. Cannot have one without the other. The “prove” part isn’t over on wedding day, it’s just getting into high gear. My effort is no good without hers.

  14. Matthew-877277 July 24, 2013

    “Men will always try to speed things up and women will always need to slow them down.” This seems to me to be the fundamental error of this piece. What does she mean men will ALWAYS speed things up. Some men will speed things ups, but some men will be afraid to commit, and others will be afraid that she is playing games with our heart. In fact, in the beginning of this relationship it seems that this guy was definitely NOT speeding things up. “I don’t know” to me doesn’t sound like rejection, it sounds like fear of commitment or – heaven help us – actually not knowing. I know that as a guy when I say, “I don’t know,” what I generally mean is “I don’t know.”

  15. Erick-562324 July 24, 2013

    “At least you didn’t give a piece of yourself”? I am sorry, but love is all about giving yourself. Getting into a relationship expecting not to give yourself (and I mean completely, not a piece), is a guarantee for failure because it is not based on love. There is no real faith in your partner and ultimately shows a lack of trust in God.

    Couples need to love their spouses giving themselves to each other like Jesus gave Himself to His Church. In the chastity of marriage or in that of singles, they need to trust their hearts to each other taking every risk to be heart-broken. Real love is like that.

    The story of the love of God for Human kind is that of a love that perseveres after being betrayed once and again and again. For the best example of a broken heart that always loves, forgives and forgets… just look at the cross.

  16. Michael-573454 July 24, 2013

    This was helpful to me. Let’s remember that she was dealing with a guy who jerked her around at first, not being clear with his intentions, and really hurt her feelings. This wasn’t just her sense of things, he also knew that he had hurt her, which is why he approached her to apologize. There were definitely some serious problems in this relationship that needed to be transformed through prayer and discipline. He had lost her trust, and he really did have go the extra mile to earn it back, while she also needed to acquire the discipline to say ‘no’ to him which was probably difficult for her to do and took a lot of effort on her part. That’s what the strict boundaries were about. They both needed to grow. Also, giving up being together for lent is a perfectly reasonable discipline. Its very healthy to take time away from someone in order to pray – I think Paul even recommends this for married people in one of his epistles. There were clearly attachment and dependence issues for them both to work through through in order to be able to have a healthy relationship. Setting boundaries was effective for helping them both become mature enough to finally give themselves to each other freely later on. Its a hopeful reminder that people can change, and that discipline of a very reasonable, concrete kind can lead to greater freedom, and more loving relationships.

  17. Carol-799486 July 24, 2013

    A woman must preserve her self respect and self dignity intact. A man who fears God will respect the woman he loves and will always protect her from harms way. You must not rush things up or you will spoil up everything. I believe that the man must take the lead and we follow. That is why its very important that he is a good man. For a good man is a good leader. Guard your heart and keep your emotion in check all the time. Pray and never cease to pray. For there are bad man out there looking for a prey. Those who does not like any obligations attach to what they want to happen. After getting what he wants from you he will leave you like yesterday’s mash potato. Or if he will sense you won’t badge in he will bail out and leave you in mid air. Be wary and guard your heart. A woman is a treasure without a price tag. For she is a treasure rooted from the heart and not on soil. So please treasure us in your heart. We are not a toy. We are here to love you, take care of you, take care of your children, fight your battle alongside with you, to hug you and kiss you and congratulate you after a work done. Hey! Are we not great! :)

  18. Mark R. July 24, 2013

    They actually both sound crazy. First of all, who goes out EVERY NIGHT? Then it lasted 14 months of “silent treatment”. Once he said he didn’t know where things were going and she dumped him, they shouldn’t have gone back.

    Giving him up for Lent? He should have run the other way, not married her! She had to make a rule that he needs to give her 3 days in advance warning for a date? Isn’t that just common courtesy.

  19. Ann-69118 July 24, 2013

    Lol your post made my laught and I’m in total agreement. Her tactics seem a little immature to me actually something like grade school….14 months of silent treatment…should have just moved on.

    • Sandra-202758 August 22, 2013

      It actually sounds like she’s just not that into him.

  20. Esther-532964 July 25, 2013

    Good article. She did what her head and her heart were telling her to do. She wanted to know if he truely cared about her. You heard the saying, “time will tell” and the saying, ” If he wants you, he’ll be back.” I’m glad for the both of them. It sounds to me like their prayers were both answered. They found each other, and are happily married now. Many Blessing to the both of them!

  21. Jennifer-116756 July 25, 2013

    Boundaries…… It’s too bad she had to set these up and teach this guy. But kudos that she stuck to her guns. It is truly amazing to me how many folks can’t/don’t….. Didn’t learn what is and what is not appropriate. Sadly, reality is the woman does typically set this stuff. Heather? Zoe? Good for you. Better to recognize,establish now….. Trust me 20 yrs from now= very difficult.so glad it worked out for you and you didn’t lose YOU! Cheers!

    • Jack-131359 July 27, 2013

      Wow!
      So, I’m curious, Jennifer…how’s that working out for YOU?
      And, yours isn’t the only post on here that falls into the “circle the wagons, girls; these men will learn!
      This story, and many of the comments, are about the most depressing thing I’ve read in a while! And on a Friday night at home alone no less! LOL

      • Jennifer-116756 July 27, 2013

        Hey Jack, to be perfectly honest, I think she should have moved on way before but it didn’t work out that way so best wishes to all and congrats on your Friday evening! I’m saying this w/ love…… You sound bitter. Here’s love and prayers your way to get thru that nastiness! Xoxo

  22. Mark-687718 July 25, 2013

    As a rather traditional-minded person, I was always of the opinion that the man should pursue the woman. I have to admit though that this opinion has changed over time. It has unfortunately happened several times that I have been “led on” by women who I have pursued for a while, giving me the false hope that my pursuit was leading somewhere, only to realize in the end it was just a waste of time. I think the key is in realizing when to stop pursuing. But this is easy to say, and incredibly hard to do when you are actually in the situation. The last time I got burned this way, I made a resolution to myself that I would no longer chase after someone who isn’t willing to meet me half-way. People shouldn’t need to pursue, instead they should both be making strides toward each other. Anything else is just a game of cat and mouse.

  23. Patrick-341178 July 25, 2013

    That is generally good advice but she should have gone one step further…. The best way to scare a guy off is when the woman starts pursuing the man…. Ladies…. Never feel you have to do that!!!!!!

  24. Rita-933945 July 26, 2013

    you are soooooo right!!!!! I made the same mistake you did…now i have so many regrets:/

  25. Teresa-525463 July 26, 2013

    I read this article in disbelief. Neither he nor she seemed to understand each other too well; they seemed like polar opposites. If a woman has to set up a Triathlon just to test a man’s endurance, than how does she really know what he is like as a person and future spouse? All she really is seeing are the RESULTS of her tests. Personally, I like to see what initiative the man takes without me trying to control his every action. And if a man jerked me around, I’d probably take it as warning of what my life would be like with that person. A woman can still have boundaries and so can a man; I think it’s called mutual respect. :)

  26. Cathy-564420 July 26, 2013

    Great blog and I get the point as nothing usually comes good of too fast, too soon! You more than likely would get to know them in a fairly quick amount of time though to see if their intentions are good and to continue dating, though.

    I guess no one understands the jerk off or 14 months of the silent treatment or the timelines that he could call or pursue her, but to each their own and it must have worked out in the end for them as they finally grew up, started dating, and got married, lol.

    Oh well, isn’t dating fun?!

  27. Jack-131359 July 27, 2013

    “Oh well, isn’t dating fun?!”
    In short, NO!
    But, I’m sure you meant that tongue in cheek anyway. :-)

  28. Jeannie-822585 July 27, 2013

    When I read this article on this beautiful Saturday morning, I thought that I agree with the premise that we are to guard our hearts (for both the man and the woman) but to tell the man you can only contact you on Wednesday and Sundays, is counterproductive to having a happy relationship. Discernment of God rather than having the man jump through hoops is what I rely on and some wisdom my Dad shared with me when I was a teenager in my first relationship that I shouldn’t just listen to the man but watch his actions and that will tell you all. An Ephesians 5 relationship, in short.

    Jeannie

  29. Eric-97921 July 28, 2013

    I can give this blog post kudos–with a big caveat. I don’t think a woman should be too quick to give herself to a man–there is nothing wrong with making a man “woo” a woman and work a little bit at getting to know her. And–it does sound like the author’s situation might have been a bit unique, so I wouldn’t want to judge the specific remedy.

    What does bother me–and what I think is a huge mistake–is when women (Catholic women) develop a set of rigid “rules” based upon posts such as this (or from drawing too specific lessons from Jane Austen??) and end up treating men and masculinity as some sort of binary code.

    You never know how your signals are going to be interpreted. If you play too hard to get, some men may assume that you are not interested or become very confused. After all, nobody wants to be perceived as not being able to take a hint. One woman, after inviting me to several of her get-togethers, refused a movie with me (and even brunch) unless some of her friends could come along!! I’ve asked women out, naming a suggested time/place; they cannot make that day, but don’t suggest an alternative. Later, they accept another date, but what if I had assumed (with some justification) she was just blowing me off? This is too much game-playing.

    The author’s points are well taken–I just think that many women are susceptible to read this kind of thing and go completely overboard: e.g., expecting a guy to pour his blood, sweat and tears into you with little or no return in commitment or response and expecting the guy to let you keep your options open (that’s not what the author was saying, but I’ve seen this type of thing).

    Again, every situation and person is different, but we need to be careful it doesn’t devolve into mind games, as that just causes people to put on an unnatural personae, become guarded, or “puff” themselves such that they come off as being better than they really are.

  30. Ken-744906 July 28, 2013

    Giving someone up for Lent. That sure got a lot of people thinking. About a lot of things.

  31. Eric-97921 July 28, 2013

    And I’ll say one more thing on this matter of pursuit–if taken to a certain extreme, some men may get to the point where they are handing over all power in the relationship to the woman…we can become like puppy dogs once when the girl pits herself on a pedestal. Then–who respects that? You get traded in for something “better.”

  32. AnneMarie-993126 August 5, 2013

    All I can say is, all is well that ends well. You are happily married now, which frankly is what I’m sure most of the 50+ commentators on your article want. And you have a just given birth to my newest nephew . . . I assure you all that my brother needed a bit of tough love and it takes a tough girl to give it. Go Heather!

    Would you consider writing a post on kindness? Maybe that’s why some people aren’t matching . . . kindness goes a long way . . . Just a thought:)

  33. Andy-516957 September 10, 2013

    Wow, you sound manipulative. That is almost the text book definition of manipulative. You modified his behavior. This story actually made me a little sick. I hate to think of all the poor women that follow your advice and miss out on men because they set up rules and invisible fences and miss out on the good men that see through these ridiculous games and move on to a real woman with the maturity to communicate.
    Why was this article posted?
    Manipulation is what bullies do. I don’t see how this relationship can last a lifetime.

    • Charles F. February 6, 2014

      Amen, brother. She wants to follow Eve’s example and expects her subject, err, husband/dufus to follow Adam’s example. Haven’t we tried that already? The key to a godly marriage is remembering that it was initiated in heaven and is just as more about YHVH and His plan for mankind in His Kingdom and learning selfless unconditional love than it is about our selfishly manipulative needs and desires.
      Shalom

  34. Jenny N. June 16, 2014

    The world would be a better place if more women pursued men. The fact women don’t ever pursue is what makes men push women so hard to begin with.

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