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Parallax - Advice

January 13, 2003

Terms of Endearment?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I am a twenty-eight year old female. I have never been married and have no children. I've read a lot of books and know it's normal for men to crave distance and space from time to time. Well, I was dating this man for two months and we got along really well. Then we had a disagreement. He said I was smothering him (and I take responsibility for smothering him.) He withdrew and didn't phone or return calls for about a week. So I got mad (even though I knew it was normal.) I don't know where to go from here. I assumed we broke up when we had the fight, so I am apprehensive to call. I don't want to infringe on the space he says he needs. On the other hand, I know he won't call if he thinks I might be mad. Should I assume things are over unless I hear otherwise? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Lady-in-Waiting,

Yes, it's over.

It's over until he sees you with someone else and is enraged with jealousy. But that nonsense aside, I would move along.

By the way, none of this behavior is—as you say—normal. It is not normal to take a week to return someone's phone call; it is simply disrespectful. I think he's told you pretty plainly (without having a difficult conversation) that he would prefer not to be so involved. Now, you may get a call in a few weeks when he thinks of it, and you can decide at that time, whether or not you'd like to see him.

However, you should not expect a call. Certainly, do not put your socializing or dating on hold for his precious spare moment when he decides to bless you with an invite into his space.

The word smothering is a little insulting, as well. Give him all the space there is.

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His view:

Dear Lady-in-Waiting,

You're reading too many books and thinking too much about what he might or might not be thinking.

It's simple. If you like men who don't have the manners or the guts to call for a week or longer, then call him and try to patch things up.

If you prefer to be treated with more respect, then forget him and go meet someone else. What do you have to lose? As you say, you are twenty-eight, unmarried and childless.

Men crave that, too.

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