If you don't want commitment, stop acting committed

If you don't want commitment, stop acting committed

Q: How do I put on the brakes with a girl who wants more from me than I want from her? I told her on our first date that I am not looking for anything "serious"; I don't have the time or the energy to invest in an intense relationship right now.

She said she understood, but has proceeded to try to "boyfriend" me. She bought me a Christmas gift and has upped the ante to one call per day, which is exactly what I didn't want.

I don't know what to do that won't seem heartless or dismissive.

Washington

A: The most heartless (least heartful?) thing you can do is keep this from her. Tell her flat-out the everyday calls are too much, and affirm your commitment to avoid commitment.

It'll feel like a slap in the face to her, because all rejection does, so you'll feel like the jerk. But every day you don't speak up is another brick in her belief that she's in a promising relationship.

If she doesn't get the message, then stop seeing her. Feel mean now or monstrous later.

Baby's godfather steps back instead of up to the plate

Q: My wife and I have a 19-month-old daughter. Before she was born we chose our friend as her godfather and named him in our will as her guardian. He is a very good friend whom we have known for many years.

Before she was born he talked about how he would pick her up for outings to give us a break, how he would visit me on maternity leave to keep me from being depressed, how he was so excited and was going to be so involved.

Baby came and he didn't do these things. He has never babysat, in fact.

The first year of her life he visited at least once a month. Then it became less frequent.

Then we didn't see him for five months and only just saw him at Christmas. He lives five miles away.

We are very disappointed. We miss him as a friend and can't understand what has changed, but more than that, we feel he should be more involved in our daughter's life.

How do we talk to him about this?

J.K.

A: By staying close to your point about missing him, and far, far away from "should."

Even though you feel he "should" be more involved, that's actually not for you to decide.

It's also not realistic to expect someone to follow through on joyous pronouncements made before he even held the child. Some people cradle a baby and lose their hearts; some just lose their minds — a la, "Holy crap, take this thing back."

And it's never a reflection on the baby, no matter how personal it may feel to the parents.

So, repeat after me: "We miss you and don't know why you visit so rarely." Then listen to him.

I hope he's strong enough to say, "I was talking out my (wrong end) and I'm freaked by babies" — or whatever truth it is he's withholding.

I hope you're strong enough not to punish him for telling it.

But even if he hedges, the will needs attention regardless. Either you ask him whether he's comfortable remaining as designated guardian, or you quietly write him out.

If you don't want commitment, stop acting committed 02/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 3:30am]

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