Sometimes an incredibly attractive and appealing man seems to be sending all the right signals. He’s interested in you, but for some reason — that’s as far as it goes. What then? That’s Katherine’s issue for today’s One-to-One w/ April.
I’ve been working with a personal trainer for almost two years, and there’s a lot of chemistry. He contacts me every day on text or email to say “how r u” or “good morning,” yet he does not EVER ask me out, nothing materializes. I feel played or “toyed with,” and I’m not sure what the problem is other than him feeling like it is inappropriate to “date” a client (which I have not confirmed, only assuming).
After almost two years I think it’s time to move on as nothing is materializing, but regardless of that, why would a man treat me in such a way if he (supposedly) never planned to pursue me and ask me out? I am dumbfounded by it and also extremely resentful and confused, not to mention angry. Thanks, Katherine
Wow, Katherine, there is a lot to unpack here in your letter, so I’m just going to dive right in. I’ll start with your last question: why would a man treat you in such a way if he doesn’t plan to ask you out?
Katherine, there are as many reasons for this as there are fish in the sea, but the most probable explanation is that he simply enjoys flirting with you. There are a lot of men (and women) who enjoy exchanging flirtatious banter when there’s some great chemistry at play, and who don’t expect it to necessarily lead to anything else. It’s possible he falls into this camp.
Check Your Bias
What do you really know about this man personally? You’ve said he’s been your trainer for two years, but do you know for a fact that he’s even single? Did the two of you ever have any intimate conversations where you shared such information about your lives? Might he be in a relationship (or even married), but keep such information to himself in the workplace?
Here’s another question: is it possible that as part of his work he sends morning texts and emails to all of his clients? Has he ever sent messages to you that imply something more than warm friendliness?
If it is the case that he simply enjoys flirting with you, I want you to consider the idea that you don’t have to be resentful or angry about it, but instead choose to take it as a compliment! He may truly enjoy your company and the chemistry you two have, and be satisfied with that. I’ve touched briefly on this phenomenon before. I call it “the Street Lamp Effect.” Basically, when you shine, people are drawn to you — regardless of their relationship status, or anything else going on in their lives.
More Than One Basket
Now let me address your first question: should you move on?
In a word, yes.
You seem to have fallen into the trap of the “flirtationship,” in which your casual interactions with this man have had just enough promise in your mind to satiate you, and as a result supplant any real world romantic relationships. You might want to review another Sparks! post I wrote called “The Pros and Cons of the Flirtationship,” and see if any of it rings a bell for you.
In the end, Katherine, if you’ve let this man know through your approachable behavior that you’re open to a date and he hasn’t asked you out by now, it isn’t going to happen. The reason isn’t really that important. Adult men who are relationship ready don’t waste time when they find a woman they are interested in, they take action.
Instead of being frustrated, being angry or confused, simply detach and let go. Look at this as a positive lesson in not being too focused on just one potential partner. (Who have you perhaps been overlooking or missing out on as you’ve read and reread this man’s texts?)
My final advice to you is to examine whether you were using this situation as an opportunity not to live your life and fully explore your options. If so, work on getting in touch with your own values — what you want and need from a man — and then look for someone who actually gives you those things.
For everyone else reading this, would love to hear your stories. We’ve all got them, I know. Pining or waiting for someone because the sparks are there, but it never goes beyond that. I’m sure Katherine would love to know she’s not alone. Please share your experiences in the comments below!