Q: Dear Rachel,

There’s a hot guy in my office that I’m dying to date. From what I’ve gathered, he’s single and interested, but he hasn’t asked me out yet. Should I make the first move?

— Impatient

A: Dear Impatient,

I say, “Don’t help a man be a man.” This means you should assume the guy you like has the courage to ask you out if he’s interested and available to date you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be friendly and flirtatious, but when it comes to asking for a phone number or a date, let the guy make the first move.

This isn’t an issue of women’s lib. Of course we, as women, are able to set up a date, but that doesn’t always mean it’s advisable behavior. I don’t believe in playing games, but I do believe in setting healthy boundaries as a means of conveying one’s self-worth. Whether we like it or not, our society teaches men to pursue what they want in regard to jobs, material possessions and romantic partners, so to avoid helping a guy into a relationship he doesn’t wholly desire, let him take the initiative.

When I interviewed men for my dating survival handbook, I found that men consistently took less responsibility in dating relationships when women initiated them. Men who are pursued sometimes think that conventional dating etiquette no longer applies, as if they’ve entered a morality-free zone, complete with no-strings-attached, casual sex. Furthermore, overly assertive dating behavior on the part of a woman tends to delay or thwart the crucial “Epiphany Moment” — a man’s realization that a woman is worth dating exclusively. Men tend to be a little slower in the emotional attachment department than their female counterparts so it’s important to give them a head start to let their attraction gain momentum before beginning a dating relationship.

Yes, it can be intimidating for a man to risk the rejection of asking for a date, but it’s still a fundamental rite of passage in dating culture. If a man doesn’t overcome this challenge, take it as a sign that he’s not ready for a committed relationship, which involves much greater challenges. If he’s truly available and interested and possesses a moderate amount of courage, he will ask you out eventually. If he doesn’t, there is a reason. The reason, itself, is inconsequential. The point is that the relationship is not meant to happen at this time.

Also, if you make the first move, you increase your chances of getting the guy you want, without ever really getting his love. Too many guys have told me they’ll go along with a relationship they don’t want if it takes little or no effort on their part. They’ll say something like, “Well, she came on to me, so I figured, why not?”

If you’re looking for something casual, then making the first move is your prerogative. However, if you desire a meaningful union, I suggest allowing a man to pursue you as a means of expressing his interest. Your patience will be rewarded when the right guy asks you out and you don’t have to wonder whether or not he wants to be with you.

Can chemistry grow?<p>

Q: Dear Rachel,

I just started dating someone who’s cute, funny and affectionate. There’s only one problem: I have no chemistry with him. Can chemistry grow?

— Where’s the chemistry?

A: Dear Where’s the chemistry,

If you were to tell me that you recently started dating someone with whom you have low sexual chemistry, I’d say the chemistry could definitely grow over time as you get to know each other better. However, if you really have no sexual chemistry with this man, it’s best to keep the relationship platonic. Chemistry is essential for a romantic relationship and the longer you date someone with whom you have no chemistry, the higher the chance that you’ll both end up with hurt feelings. You’ll hurt his feelings when you eventually reject him, then he’ll hurt your feelings for leading him on.

That being said, most people are so accustomed to high-drama, high chemistry relationships that they tend to overlook smaller sparks of chemistry that often flicker during the early stages of meeting a compatible partner. Take a moment to consider your feelings with this man. Is your intuition telling you that there is no hope of romance between the two of you, that you’re biding your time before an inevitable let’s be friends speech; or do you sense a subtle spark foreshadowing steamy chemistry in the future?

Relationships that burn too hot from the start often burn out because they can’t maintain their intensity, while some of the most fulfilling relationships often begin with an ember that builds into a hearty blaze.

Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice. 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: rachel@rebelgirlpublishing.com.

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