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Parallax - Advice            September 25, 2000

   Very nice girl squares off with Mr. Sex Shop

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I'll try to be brief. I've been dating this really handsome, professional guy for one-and-a-half months. Chemistry was intense. We were intimate on the fourth date. It was great! Then he got into sexual requests (we're both very passionate) and I agreed with the first one. The second one involved restraining and a blindfold. I didn't think I was ready for this. So I told him I needed more time. He apologized and said: 'Sounds like we need a break badly.'

We exchanged a few e-mails to clear everything. I said that with time, I'd be open to experimentation... BUT that I need to build trust in him. He accepted and has been 'friendly' over e-mails and we have great exchanges this way. Now he is extremely charming, saying he's 'dying to see me' too, but when I offer to meet, he always has some other 'plan.' It's happened twice now.

My question is: Could it be that he really is planning to ditch me? Can someone be so insensitive and so self-centered that he will not pursue a relationship (like he said he wanted to) because I didn't go for his second sexual request? How should I handle it? I offered to talk on the phone tomorrow. And I'm sure he's expecting me to call. He said yes, but I feel I shouldn't call. His last email was rather cold, saying he had yet some other plans for the weekend.

I've been so nice to him all the way. So I have to change my strategy, and thought I'd let him miss me for a while, or in other words: retreat. See his reaction. If it bothers him, and he contacts me, I guess I can take it as a good sign. If it doesn't bother him...then he really wanted to end it all.

Is he a player? How can someone be so cruel? He could just be honest and tell me, 'I don't want to hurt you and I'm not ready for a relationship.' Instead he has been replying to my e-mails in a teasing, flirty way...why? To keep me on the back burner?

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Her view:

Dear Brief,

Back off. This guy is undecided at best and it sounds as though you really like him quite a lot - which puts you in a bad spot. Now, it is possible that he is in the midst of a flurry of events, engagements, work and whatnot, and just does not have time to meet with you though he has the best intentions. This is possible. But even if it is, giving him some space is still the right thing to do.

On the sexual front - you did exactly the right thing. You should never do anything you're not excited about. And if Mr. Sex Shop doesn't understand that you'd like to hold off on the bedroom circus for a while, well that's too bad. You can have meaningless sex with tons of guys and he is just one more. And lots of other guys will perform as well as he does so don't fret on that part, they're everywhere.

On the player question - yes, sounds like he is. Flirting on e-mail is really fun. People say things they might not normally say. It adds an exciting component to one's day - often it's meaningless. But it sounds like he's amusing himself, while doing very little to amuse you. He's probably only interested in you to the extent that you can provide the next sexual adventure. He doesn't, however, sound very interested in you as a person.

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His view:

Dear Brief,

This guy does have you on a slow burn. You've gone from being his number one girl, the star stock in his portfolio, to being a good bet, but one that has second priority for now.

I don't think this is necessarily cruel. It would be cruel if he knew how seriously you were taking him. If he knew how eager you really are to create a relationship. He knows you've been nice, yes, but he thinks that's simply because it's your personality.

Cruel or not, my guess is his intentions are more complicated than simply trying to string you along. He is definitely interested in you, though he senses you may not be right for him. He likes sexually adventurous women, and you're not exactly that. Even if you do gradually accede to his second request, what about his third, or fourth? What are you going to say when he asks you to dress up like Batman and spank him? Is it going to be 'full stop and let's think about this' every time?

Do you really want to play these games with him? Is he that special - does he have so much more to offer? Your strategy should be to halt all activity and let him pursue you. Put him on medium low and let him stew for a while. That may be just what the guy needs.

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