Q: Dear Rachel,
I’ve been spending time with an incredible woman who works at my chiropractor’s office. We’re both huge Los Angeles Lakers fans and I initially asked her out on a date to go to a game. Unfortunately, she’s seeing someone, or should I say sleeping with some guy, so we went to the game as friends. She says it’s casual with the guy she’s seeing, so I thought I had a chance. However, we’ve spent the last four weekends hanging out together, talking, laughing, we even hold hands, but several times I’ve tried to kiss her and she always repeats, “I just want to be friends.” What are my chances?
— Signed, Mixed Signals
A: Dear Mixed Signals,
Your predicament is not unusual. Unfortunately, it sounds like this female friend of yours has got you in the woman’s version of a booty call. Just like some men consistently have sex with women who they don’t want to date, some women go on dates with men they don’t want to have sex with. This is one of the fundamental communication differences between men and women and the source of much heartache between the two sexes. Men tend to show their feelings for a woman outside the bedroom, while women show their feelings for a man inside the bedroom.
It’s mind boggling to women that some men can have sex with them on an ongoing basis without eventually desiring a monogamous relationship. Women don’t understand how a man can have sex without developing an emotional attachment because sex is how women express romantic feelings*. It’s similarly mind-boggling to a man that a women can have deep talks and participate in date-like activities, such as dinner, the movies and even long walks on the beach without sharing his romantic feelings.
However, women don’t necessarily associate romantic feelings with these activities because that’s how they bond with their girlfriends. In this case, women see their male friend as a girlfriend with the added benefit of an ego boost because they get to bask in their male friend’s adoration. Most women can have platonic bonding with just about anyone, but they only sleep with men they want to date. Some men can sleep with almost anyone, but they generally spend time outside the bedroom, on date-like activities (dinner and the movies) with the women they want to date. I’ve heard many men say, “I don’t know why she thought we were dating just because we were sleeping together, it’s not like I took her to dinner or anything.”
Meanwhile, women tend to say, “I don’t know why he thought we were dating just because we’ve gone to dinner, it’s not like I kissed him or anything.” In both scenarios, one person is getting something they want until someone better comes along, with little effort on their part.
My advice to you is to let go of your desire to date this woman and proceed with your dating life. If there’s a chance that she has latent romantic/sexual feelings for you, they will surface as soon as she feels (and she will feel it) that you’ve let go. If it’s meant to be, she’ll miss you and have The Epiphany Moment, where she’ll realize that she wants to date you. As the situation stands now, she has no motivation to change anything because she’s getting the best of both worlds: she’s getting hot sex from that other guy and she’s getting the intimacy of a relationship from you. You’re not doing any favor to yourself by continuing things as they are, you’re only prolonging your own frustration and taking the chance that she may give in and kiss you on your next try, only to call you the next day to say that it was a mistake, at your emotional expense. Reclaim your self-respect by letting her go. You’ll show her that she can’t use you emotionally to have her cake and eat it too. If she suddenly has a change of heart — great. If not, then you’ll know you saved yourself time and heartache because it was never going to happen. Either way, you’ll be available to enjoy a relationship with someone who wants to date you without limitations.
*As a disclaimer, here, I’ll state that some women can have one-night stands with men they don’t want to date, but this is the exception to the rule since most women won’t consistently sleep with a man unless they’re hoping for a relationship with him.
Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice Beach. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit: www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.