Thursday, June 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Dating's fatal no no: Staying quiet about what bugs you

There was a very popular post written the other day by a blogger named Matt Walsh called, "Dear Single Dudes: It's Time to Man Up." The gist of his article is that men are often commitment-phobic, and they need to get themselves into gear to stop messing around and to have a serious relationship.

I read the post in its entirety, and then I made the following comment: "I have to agree with everything you said in the article, both as a woman and as a dating coach. But I have to wonder, had I written the exact same thing but coming from a woman's point of view, would I be tarred and feathered for looking like I'm bitter, or worse, asking for something that shouldn't be asked? Just a thought.''

This brings us to the question: Whose responsibility is it to "(wo)man up?" I dare to say the responsibility lies in both camps. It's true — almost every woman I know wants much of what the article says. In particular, she wants a partner who is decisive, proactive, commitment-minded, future-oriented, and ready to discuss hard topics. Very few women want the man-boy who calls it "hanging out" or "talking" rather than "dating."

The best advice I could give to any man is to be clear about what your intentions are up front. If you're looking for a serious relationship, then say so. And if you're not, then make that clear as well; half of the people on Tinder do! The best thing you can do is to be honest and let her have the choice as to whether to stick around or not.

Now, for the ladies:

I hear complaints like this all the time: "He won't pick up the phone to call me. I am so sick of texting!" "He only contacts me once a week. What's up with that?" "Why can't he ask me before Friday if I'm free this weekend?"

All of these are, of course, valid questions and concerns. But what's not valid is not saying anything about them to the person you're dating! As much as we want them to be, people are not mind readers. We often dance around things that bother us until the other person figures them out, which rarely happens. This leads to the demise of many a relationship, when often simply talking it through would resolve the problem.

Let's take the example of texting. In this day and age, the default is to text. Running late? Send a text. Curious to know what someone's up to later? Send a text. Ask someone out on a second date? You guessed it.

I pose this question: If this overuse of texting bothers you, what do you do about it? Too often, the answer is nothing. If you allow the texting to go on by answering all the time and not mentioning that you would prefer a phone call, then your date/partner assumes that it's okay.

A female client called me to ask what to do about a guy from who has been texting her since asking for her phone number. She said, "He must be lazy! Should I just ignore him?" My response was, "Write him back saying, 'Why don't you give me a ring, and we'll schedule a time to meet.' "

In life, many people end up being passive-aggressive or unclear when trying to get a message across. The act of having a real, honest conversation about something that's bothering you is a lost art, but it's the foundation of a good relationship. Rather than having little things, like the frustration with texting, add up until you can't take it anymore, instead, you can ask yourself, "Have I mentioned that I would prefer a call sometimes?" If the answer is no, then before you break up (likely via text, given the circumstances), have a conversation about your different communication styles, and try to find a middle ground.

Now, let's get back to the bigger issue at hand. Let's say someone new in your life is not "manning up," as Matt's article suggests. Try this on for size: Ask what he's looking for. If the answer is not to your liking, then it's time to cut the ties before you get too invested.

Remember that you get what you allow, so by allowing the "problem" to go on, you're sending the message that it's not a problem at all. If he's not "manning up," it's time to speak up! And if you then find out that he's not ready for the serious relationship that you are, then it's time to take stock of what you want and go out there to find it.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, a dating advice site.

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanItís been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But heís about to make up for lost time. On Saturday heíll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Published: 06/20/18
Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry: Hollywood MediumTyler Henry, the so-called Hollywood Medium who stars in an eponymous E! hit show, is coming to town with a live show called "Life Lessons I Have Learned From the Departed." The soft-spoken 22-year-old has done readings f...
Published: 06/20/18
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18

Tell Me About It: Wife punished after being victimized

Q: At a work happy hour, a male co-worker groped me. He later "apologized" with the qualification that I had been sending him mixed signals.Iím married, he has met my husband, Iíve never led him on. And when it happened I was incredibly clear that it...
Published: 06/20/18
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Regretting staying too long in bad romance

Q: I recently broke up with someone after two years. Even though there were things that bothered me while we were together, I would convince myself I was overreacting, he didnít really mean it, etc.Now that itís over, I feel like a fool for not havin...
Published: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: After years of depression, a diagnosis

Q: Iím 33 and have dealt with depression on and off since my adolescence. I grew up in a household with every kind of abuse you can think of, but I didnít start seeking help until my early 20s via talk therapy, and cut ties entirely with my abusers. ...
Published: 06/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

St. Pete Pride: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coco Montrese of RuPaul’s Drag Race...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy news confirms estrangement

Q: I just found out my son and his wife are going to be parents. Iím very excited and somewhat confused and a little hurt: Sheís seven months along. I donít know why the long wait to tell me. They live in another state, and I havenít seen them in abo...
Updated one month ago