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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Counselor
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Experience:  Want help with your most important relationships? Licensed Marriage/Family Counselor.
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Met this guy on a blind date about 6wks ago and I am crazy

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Met this guy on a blind date about 6wks ago and I am crazy about him. As soon as I met him I felt like he's the 'one' like I did with my ex-husband. Ive been divorced 12yrs and I want a family again, but he just got divorced last Aug.after 14yrs. He is very family oriented and is a very devoted father to his 3 boys, ages 9,11, 12. We moved way too fast the first few weeks, seeing each other and talking constantly when he didn't have his kids then all of a sudden he says he just wants to be friends and date other people because he's not ready for a commitment yet. He says I am the perfect girl for him, just when he 'get's hisself together'. His ex was emotionally abusive and he says he needs time to heal before getting into another relationship. He has gone on 2 dates, but says he hasn't seen either girl since and hasn't had sex with anyone but me since we met. While I believe him, I'm also not naive and I know if he keeps going out sooner or later he will sleep with someone. We practice safe sex, on my insistence,but emotionally I don't think I could take that. It hurt so deeply when he told me about the one date a few weeks ago. He sends me mixed messages constantly! We talk and text all day and night and have a ton of fun together. We laugh a lot! When we are intimate it's like nothing I've ever had because he is so affectionate and loving, he seems to be crazy about me too when we're together. But he still wants to go out and eventhough we don't have a comittment, our friends treat us like a couple and we seem like one. I don't know what to do... He is a very passive man and I initiate much of the things we do, but he is always very receptive once I do. But that makes me feel like he could take it or leave it. I never know whether to wait for him to call or text me or if I should continue to initiate since it feels like once I do then he kind of keeps it going?? He has even mentioned marrying me one day, or "in the end" as he if I can wait for his heart to heal and as long as he doesn't meet someone he likes better in the meantime. So confusing. I don't feel like I'm being 'strung along' though because he has taken me around his kids and I just feel like he shows me more respect than that. But I wonder if I"m respecting myself by going with the flow and allowing him to be with me AND still go out with his single friends and meet up with other girls. Please help me make sense of this?? THanks!! Patty

HI Patty,

No more sex until your relationship is on an exclusive basis. If he is not committed enough at this point to be exclusive he is not committed enough for you to be sexual partners. How do I know? Because of what you say above. You have to discipline yourself a lot because it feel so good to be with him in every way. It feels so good but it isn't healthy. You are not showing adequate respect for the parts of your self that desire security and to be cherished. Often we have to deprive one or more parts of our self to respect other important parts of our self. And yes you need to make some space for him to take initiative, both for his good and for yours as well. Back off a bit and slow down. It is hard, scary and lonely at times but it is more real and healthy.

Can you do it?

Mark Manley and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


I don't know if I can do it, but sounds like I don't have much of a choice. Sounds like you are saying if I continue to have sex with him then it means I don't have respect for myself? Therefore he won't have respect for me...and no guy is going to end up with a girl he can't respect. Besides, I am always the one to initiate the sex or set up oppurtunities for it and that makes me feel taken for granted. I've never been in this situation before so I'm not sure what you mean when you say 'back off a little' and slow down...what does that mean I should do?? Don't call or text him ever? Always let him initiate it? Do I tell him I'm not gonna have sex with him anymore? Just let him think I'm busy now all the time? What exactly does what you're recommending look like? I'm such an all or nothing type person so I'm not sure I can just go out as friends and be around him all the time because of how strong my feelings are for him. Maybe I should just completely stay away for now??

Customer: replied 6 years ago.


I clicked on 'accept answer' by mistake...can you please respond to my reply to your response? Thanks!! Patty

Great feedback for me to respond to. Good job!

If you continue to have sex with him you are disrespecting some important parts of yourself. All or nothing is not the answer here. Back off and slow down looks like less frequent initiations of contact by you and stop initiating/facilitating the sex. When he asks why you changed you say something like " I just think what we were doing is more for an exclusive relationship, I guess I got carried away."


You will feel anxiety going slower, the anxiety is uncomfortable but you can learn to deal with it and it will get better over time. If you want to seek some counseling for this aspect of your self, your therapy would start with something like " I am all or nothing in romantic relationships and when I try to find middle ground I feel anxious"


If you cut off the relationship completely you rob your self of a great growth opportunities


Do you get this?

Let me know



Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Wow you are so right about that!! I always start relationships as girlfriend material and end up very quickly as some girl they can just take it or leave it with because I move way too fast. I always feel like I have to 'give them my resume' so to speak and sell them on me right away instead of just going slow, being myself, and letting them get to know me on their own, at their own pace. I know if I could do that the reward would be huge, as in an eventual relationship with someone I truly care for deeply and want to be with, but I haven't been able to do it so far. My all or nothing attitude just kills any interest they may have had in me as a future mate and I scare them off. With this guy I find it so difficult knowing that he is out, possibly pursuing other girls on the nights he doesn't have his kids. I get so frustrated and down on those nights that it just becomes this emotional roller coaster for me. Any suggestions about this? I'm also afraid that with less initiating from me that he will think I'm less interested and find a girl who is. ???

The key here is that a masculine man wants and needs some level of challenge. When a woman is too available there is no challenge and he feels smothered. If I could teach women the right balance I would be rich and famous! There is no one right balance, (it depends on the couple), but suffice to say, you have been too much in one end of the spectrum or the other.


If he doesn't pursue you then

A. He is not interested


B. He is not assertive (whimpy)


Ultimately you don't want him either way.


So the dance is to provide some encouragement balanced with some space for him to pursue you.


One of the most attractive attributes a woman can have is a sense of self esteem, and self respect and self confidence. This can be grown and cultivated over time.


Great progress for you to see these things today




Mark Manley and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Wow you are right!! I feel like you have given me practical advice to follow in a very straightforward way! I needed to hear all of this. I need to work on my self-esteem and confidence. Any advice on that? Thanks!!! ps. He probably will not pursue me simply because he is sooo passive, non-assertive guy, but you are right....I don't want that!

I am so glad that I could be helpful!

Regarding self esteem:
Self esteem is based on your understanding of your intrinsic value. A beginning of the answer to the question of how to get or grow self esteem is:

Know what and who you are:
Every one has to find this for their own self.
For me personally, I have come to know, I am a creation of a perfect being and have tremendous worth and potential. I know I am a child of God and that all other humans are too. Some people don't believe in God but view their self as a highly developed being with great opportunities, capabilities and value. What are you? Who are you? If you don't know, start or continue your search.

Recognize when other people treat you in a way that is in harmony with your intrinsic value.
When the people we trust treat us this way it makes it easier to know and understand our intrinsic value. To whatever degree we lack this, in our formative years we will have a harder time understanding our value.

Recognize when people don't treat you in a way that harmonizes with your intrinsic value and learn not to personalize their behavior. ( when a person has been mistreated during formative years or over a long period of time this can be difficult, therapy can be helpful here.)

Regarding Self Confidence:
I think of Self Confidence as: an understanding that you are capable and able, an internal assurance that you can contribute and compete and that you are socially desirable. All of this can be cultivated with practice.

Where are you at with all of this?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Mark,


Well I'm up at 3am crying so what does that tell you? I was doing so well yesterday and today, but woke up with the realization that he hasn't called or text me since mon.late afternoon and I may actually never hear from him again. The last text exchange we had was my telling him that my best friend and his girlfriend invited us to celebrate his bday at a comedy club this sat.night with 2 other couples. When I didn't hear from him after that for like 3hrs.(except to ask who the comedian was) I sent him a text saying that they may be getting the wrong impression about where we are and that it was ok that I would go ahead and either invite someone else or tell them I was busy and he didn't need to worry about it. I added a smiley face so he would know I wasn't upset with him, just letting him off the hook because I felt like he must not want to go since he let so much time elapse with no response. Now I don't know what to do. I regret sending that text. I talked to you after that and I haven't initiated a text since. I am planning on going alone sat. night. My heart is completely broken. I know you said not to be all or nothing, but I don't know how else to proceed. I think he won't reach out to me now because he thinks I'm mad at him since I've basically been ignoring him the last 2 days now. He will be avoiding a confrontation. I don't know, Mark. I just dont know.

I think the reason you are all or nothing is you are afraid of being abandoned. Did your mom or your dad or both leave you?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Yes I do have deep abandonment issues. My ex-husband and I went to counseling many years ago for his affair and ended up dealing with a lot of our family of origin issues. My Dad was a workaholic and when they divorced he moved out of state and I only saw him a handful of times til I was an adult. I was 9yrs old at time of divorce. We are very close now eventhough he lives out of state. My mom is an alcoholic and would leave my brother and I home alone, sometimes for an entire wknd after the divorce. My brother was 10 and I was about 11 when that started. She was also very abusive both physically and emotionally, mainly to me, not so much to my brother. So that's where those issues come from. My ex and I have 3 children and Amanda is his,but was 4 when we married so we are still very close. I am dealing with empty-nest very badly these days. Our two oldest live in Nashville now, they are 27 & 25. Next son, 21 moved about 4wks ago to Orlando, and my youngest is almost 16 and has plans to go to TN.for college in 2yrs., but she's very busy and is rarely home anymore. I absolutely cannot bear to be alone. It causes deep depression when I'm by myself for any length of time. My kids are very independent and I don't feel needed anymore by them. I got married at 19 and have been taking care of a family all my adult life. It has always been my purpose in life and the root of my self-esteem and confidence. I have great kids, happy, confident, succesful and feel I did a great job raising them because it's what made me happiest. Now I feel I have no family left. I became a nurse last year trying to continue fill that need of taking care of people, but still depressed about not having a family at home. I need that daily interaction and it's just no longer there.


So how did you get that from my last post and do you think I am sabotaging this because of those issues? When he quit contact with me my biggest fear was realized. You are an amazing counselor, Mark!!

Thanks for the complement.

When he asked who the comedian was there was an implication that he was planning on going. You saw it as him trying to figure out whether he wanted to go or not. Your abandonment anxiety causes you to be reactive in the relationship. You just know they will leave so you want to get all you can as fast as you can and when there is any sign of him pulling away you want to hurry up and end it to get the pain over with quick. Your task is to learn to be the parent to your self that you did not have. You need to work in the area of re-parenting the hurt child with in. You have been on a long difficult journey in your life and you are making great progress. I am good to keep discussing things with you here, but it is time to hit the accept button again.
Keep me posted.

Mark Manley and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago. chin just hit the floor. Yes, I'm sure that's the pattern, especially in this case. So I still have work to do on this issue, that's apparent now. But is it too late for this relationship? How long, if ever, do I reach out to him? I feel like I need a 2nd chance to do it right. What can I do here?

I don't know what happens next for the relationship. Maybe it is over but maybe not. Let a little time pass and see if he contacts you. If you don't hear from him for two days contact him and see if he wants to do something.

The relationship that gives you a foundation for everything else is your relationship with your self. When he is not around, try to spend your extra time and energy working on yourself. Try to take consolation in the fact that you are preparing your self for better and better relationships with whom ever, (him or someone else).

If he doesn't contact you and he doesn't respond positively to your invitation(s) after a few times, then move on.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Okay that feels right to do. It has been 2 days so I went ahead and text him and asked how he is and how his son's bday went tues. We'll see if he text backk, but if he doesn;'t then I won't text him anymore, try not to think about him, and move on.


I want to work on myself and start feeling good about myself again!! I will be looking over your responses and using them as my guide. I may get a book about dealing with abandonment in relationships for help. I also started exercising this week which I haven't done in a very long time. I'm also on wellbutrin, but I'm asking for dose increase.


I think putting my effort and energy into all these things will payoff. I'm grateful for all your guidance and help!! I feel like I have a plan now for things to get better that I didn't have before I asked the initial question. I'm gonna accept answer again, but hope I can check in with you so I can stay on track if that's ok?


Thanks again!!



Sound great Patty.
Keep me posted.
I am happy for you.
Mark Manley
Mark Manley and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Okay so here's an yesterday after I hadn't talked to him since mon.afternoon about the comedian thing...I text him and kept it light, asked about his kids,etc. we exchanged a few texts like that then 2hrs.later he showed up at the ballpark where I was watching my God-daughter play...his kids were practicing like 12 diamonds over and he walked to ours to talk to me. It went well. He asked why I haven't been texting him and I said exactly what you said earlier about getting carried away etc...I didn't ask him to do anything, but my best friend invited him to the comedy club party on tues.and he said he can't come because he has his aunt's 60th bday party. It's my best friend's party and he didn't know what has happened between us all week. So I'm thinking maybe I should just let it go altogether....Such mixed messages I don't know what to do!! But I don't want to be rejected if I ask him to do something and he doesn't accept. Plus he doesn't know I've made the decision not to sleep with him anymore...What do you think would be the healthiest thing for me to do at this point?? Thank you!!!