Monday, November 24, 2014

How Soon Should He Declare His Intentions?

My recent post for Catholic Match Institute, The Art of Catholic Flirting (For Ladies' Eyes Only), generated quite a bit of discussion. The most controversial recommendation was #7:

7. Ask him to declare his intentions. Don’t let him get away with the question, “Would you like to hang out?” Tell him it depends on whether he wants to date you or just be friends. If he’s not man enough to say he wants to date you, what makes you think he’ll be man enough to propose marriage a year or two down the line? If he stutters or waffles, tell him to call you back when he makes up his mind. (Even the New York Times agrees.)
My recommendation stemmed from the disturbing trend of guys not even bothering to ask girls out on a formal date any more, leaving girls utterly confused about what kind of relationship the guys are after. When my husband and I started dating, he made it very clear that he would not be spending time with me unless he thought we had a shot at marriage. That straight-forward declaration helped us over a lot of rough spots at the beginning of our relationship.

Some readers had an extremely negative reaction to my recommendation, but others loved it. I'm eager to hear what you think! Here is a sampling of the comments:
Andrew: # 7 is going to end up disastrous unless the guy is already anxious to get in a relationship. No guy knows right away if he wants to get in a serious relationship because some flirting has happened.

Carley: I think asking what his intentions are would scare off a bunch of fruitful relationships between men and women. So hang out a couple of times without expecting any type of declaration. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know each other, but if there’s heavy flirting going on then you shouldn’t let it go on forever. Perhaps when you’ve wondered “when is he going to ask me out?” a time or two then maybe it’s time to question his intentions.

Kristin: I love #7 especially. I dated for a few years after college and wasted way too much time with guys only to find out they were not interested in me for the long haul. Or they weren’t interested in a long haul anytime soon with anyone. Had I made my intentions clear for them sooner rather than later, I would have saved us both time and emotional energy. When I met my future husband, ... I told him late one night during our nightly phone marathon that if he wanted to date me to see if we were compatible long term, then he needed to ask me not to date anyone else. I must have caught him off-guard because he said he didn’t feel right doing that. ... After another month, ... he then asked me to stop seeing any others so we could see where this could lead. Four months later he proposed and 10 months after that we were married. Now happily married for almost 19 years with 6 beautiful kids. Yes, letting a date know you are dating in search of the “one” versus to have a little fun is crucial – nowadays even more so. All points were awesome! Thx for a great read.

Thomas: #7 -> YES. Though we already knew each other for quite a while, when I started dating Alicia, she gave me an ultimatum. "I'm not going to drag this out," she said, "I don't want a long distance relationship, and I'm moving back to Florida in three months. If we don't know by then if we're on our way to marriage, it's off." Two weeks from that to engagement. 

Robert:  Point #7 needed correction and seemed almost anti-Christian.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your opinion!


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  1. I think #7 is good advice—to a point.

    You don't want to ask for commitment so quickly that you come across as the Overly Attached Girlfriend, but a declaration of intentions is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later in the relationship. You shouldn't flirt forever: If the fish don't bite, cast your line somewhere else.

    After a few dates, you should both know if you are on the same page about possibly pursuing a more serious relationship or not. If you're both OK with friendship without commitment at the moment, that's fine, but don't fool yourself into thinking a commitment will develop with someone who isn't interested in even pursuing it.

    1. "Don't fool yourself into thinking a commitment will develop with someone who isn't interested in even pursuing it." Yep! Women can easily fall into the trap of wishful thinking that a guy is serious when he isn't at all.