The jaws of ex-wife
I have had a huge crush on a man for several months and finally asked him out for drinks. During our "date," he mentioned his friend he wanted to set me up with, and I told him that HE is the person I'm interested in. He laughed nervously and seemed a little shocked. We went back to his place and spent hours just talking. He revealed that he's dating his ex-wife. She lives four hours away, and he visits her a couple times a month. We've since hung out at the pool and had drinks, but he again mentioned that he's dating his ex-wife. I've never been this attracted to a man, and I can't stop fantasizing about meeting him for much more than drinks! Do I lie low, waiting for him to drop his ex-wife, or do I make a move? — Magnetized
There was a reason the guy wasn't asking you out, and it wasn't because a cartoon witch put a spell on him and he was unable to say "How about a drink on Friday night?" until three animated teapots and several woodland animals broke the evil curse.
The wisdom of grandmas remains wise: If you want to catch a boy, don't run after him. As I explain with some frequency, women evolved to be the harder-to-get sex because having sex meant they could end up a single mother dragging a kid around the Sahara. Men coevolved to expect women to be choosier and to suspect that something's wrong with a woman when she's doing the chasing. This evolution and coevolution got burned into human psychology over millions of years — as contrasted by the drop in the bucket of human existence that is the women's movement in the past 50-some years. So, even if a man's ego is saying "Well, how groovy that she's pursuing me!" his genes are probably starting a betting pool for whether you are seriously loose, are seriously needy, or will soon be frying up his pet koi and feeding it to him in a little lemon butter sauce.
Assuming some guy isn't too fragile a flower to lay his ego on the line (in which case he's lame partner material anyway), if he isn't asking you out, he either isn't interested enough or isn't available enough. You're now making this guy out to be the greatest thing since the four-slice toaster, probably to justify hanging around like a dog waiting for a scrap of food to get knocked off the counter. (In the wake of making a mistake, we have an unfortunate ego-coddling tendency to come up with reasons it wasn't a mistake instead of admitting that, in fact, it was, which would allow us to move on.)
Any further date-flavored get-togethers with this man are a bad idea. By continuing to throw yourself at him, you'll turn your self-respect into a chew toy. And even if he eventually detached himself from his ex-wife, there's a good chance that, by chasing him, you've already screwed up the equilibrium for any relationship. A more productive deployment of your time and ego would be dating that man he offered up as a decoy or finding men on your own — the available kind — and flirting with them, which alerts them that you're there for the chasing and interested in being chased. Flirting actually allows a woman to make the first move — but far more alluringly than by yelling "Can't you see I want you, you moron?!" while clubbing a man over the head with the poolside clue phone.
Zero thumb game
Do you text a guy after getting home from a fabulous date to hint that you want to see him again? Maybe to tell him how awesome he is or hint at your schedule? My girlfriend says no, but I think a guy should know you liked him so he feels he can ask for a second date. — Considerate
There are times when a guy knows better than to ask a woman for a second date, like when she ended the first one by throwing herself out of his car while it was still moving. Otherwise, a man doesn't need hand-holding and encouragement in the form of texts: "Here are all the dates I'm free through 2015. Also, I'm double-jointed. Pick me! Pick me!" When you like a guy, you tell him so during your date by seeming happy and engaged and thanking him for a great time at the end, which suggests you'd be amenable to another date without also suggesting that you're controlling and desperate. Just because we have all these fabulous high-tech ways of communicating doesn't mean we should always be quick to use them, tempting as it can be to help a man along to the thought, "Wow ... what a wonderful helicopter mom she'll make someday."
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email email@example.com (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle To Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society.