Why didn't he call?

Dear REAP,

I really like this guy. He talks to me a bunch when we are together and then says he'll call or something, but he never follows through. I don't understand. What should I do?


Dear Friend,

Thanks for your patience in my response. I really enjoy hearing from teens and knowing the questions they have about life and love. And I pray right now that God will speak through my response to you; that this wouldn't just be Heather's ramblings.

I had a similar situation as yours. Years ago, there was a guy I liked a lot. He and I were good friends first. And he actually seemed more interested in me than I was in him - at the beginning of our friendship. But, he grew on me. We often were the last two people at parties, playing cards together or talking. He started doing things that I thought were obvious hints that he liked me. He called me just to tell me about the sunset and on a float trip, he harassed and teased me more than any of the other girls. I thought it was clear that he liked me; others noticed it, too. I said nothing to him.  I just waited, remaining good friends through it all. However, my heart did get more and more wrapped up in our friendship.

Eventually, without my prompting, he told me that he thought he might be falling in love with me and that he really liked me for my heart, mind, soul and all, not just for my body. But, he warned me that he wasn't ready to date me yet. That should have been a huge red flag for me, but my optimistic self hoped for something to happen. So, I didn't think much about it and continued to wait upon him, my heart at the point of bursting with joy.

A few things happened after that which confused me. He wouldn't call much, but then he called me at midnight one night to talk. We would have fun and really connect when we were together, but I felt like I didn't exist to him when we weren't together. Finally, thinking he was just dragging his feet, knowing that he really did like me, I stepped forward and made a move in a very forward email I sent him. He got freaked out and we ended any hopes of dating. Our friendship changed dramatically at that point, too. I really liked him, but it wasn't meant to be. Now, in retrospect, in addition to learning valuable lessons from that friendship, I am also very grateful it didn't work out. He absolutely was not the right guy for me.

The Dream of this Woman...

When I was a teen, I thought a lot about having a boyfriend (though I never had one in high school) and I always dreamed that the guy would just know that he wanted to be with me and that he would pursue me. I wanted to be worth him jumping through some hoops to call me or ask me out. I wanted him to be thinking about me and get excited about the next chance to spend time with me. It might sound silly, but I really craved this. I didn't want the relationship when I had to convince a guy that he liked me. I didn't want him to only like me when I had makeup on or was dressed up. I wanted a guy who thought my stupid little mistakes, my cellulite and my idiosyncrasies were cute. It's like some of the romance movies where the guy rushes to find the girl at the end. He pursues her and knows he wants to be with her. I wanted someone to chase after me!

Women Settle...

Since we women are actually wired, in our brains, to always be seeking relationships - family, friends or romantic - we often feel that we need to have a boyfriend in our lives to be whole and complete. So, in this world, girl after girl give up on the dream like I did. The first guy I kissed was dating another girl. I felt bad for his girlfriend, but I kept waiting and wanting him to wake up one day and decide that he really wanted to be with me. I waited for him to call and ask me out on a real date one day. Tired of waiting for this to happen, I even planned a real date for us one night.  Shockingly, nothing ever came of that relationship. Later in life, I dated a guy who just didn't have a lot of time for me. When we were together, we had a lot of chemistry, but he never wanted us to officially become a couple. I stayed with him for far too long, waiting to be pursued and wanting him to fight for my heart. Again, the relationship went nowhere.

The Dream of Many Men...

Believe it or not, the dream of most men is not to find the physically perfect woman or the drop-dead gorgeous model.  Rather, they want to find a woman who makes them feel more like a man. I'll admit that this is from a girl's perspective, but I believe that guys like to be a hero and impress girls they really like. From what I've seen in other relationships and experienced on my own, guys usually like to stick out their neck, take a risk and be rewarded for their efforts. Why do most men enjoy action movies? One element is that they get to rescue the beauty - to make a huge difference in the life of a woman, to sacrifice for her, to fight for her. They feel more like a man when their strength comes through to the aid of women. Most men today feel pretty useless and want to be a hero to a woman.

Men Settle...

Not finding a woman worth fighting for, a woman who truly captures their heart and soul, guys settle for having some attention from a girl they are fairly attracted to. Even if he doesn't want to necessarily date a girl or pursue her, a guy finds himself around an attractive, nice girl who likes him. He doesn't need to work hard - she's there and willing to hang out. And he thinks, "It's better than nothing".
Instead of men and women fulfilling their dreams, we both tend to settle and stay stuck in relationships where we like someone, but that's about it. Men don't need to fight for women anymore; we often fall at their feet. Girls don't wait to be pursued since we so desperately want to be loved and desired. We'll take some desire over no desire, right?

When it finally works...

Without faith and hope in Jesus, I probably would have given up on the true meaning of men and women. Thankfully, I didn't. A couple years ago, after several dates where I felt like I needed to impress guys and keep their interest, I was tired and just really wanted to be pursued. Then I met Michael. After a nice, short conversation at a friend's house, he found the REAP website and emailed me, asking me out for coffee or lunch. Now, other guys had pursued me in the past, but I wasn't very interested in these guys. Michael, I didn't mind. I was intrigued by his interest and agreed to go with him. I remember going into the "date" thinking, "I am tired of trying to impress guys. I'm going to let him lead the conversation and work at it." And he did. He asked a bunch of questions and our conversation was never dull. He was really interested in me. We went on a second date, and again, I didn't have to work at being myself or trying to impress. When we talked on the phone or emailed, he really wanted to talk and connect. He was a busy man, but still was excited to find time to spend with me. It was awesome! And he still pursues me today, in many ways, as we prepare for marriage.

The Lessons for Single Folks...

Understand the opposite sex: I wish that I would have learned years ago about the beauty of how God created man and woman. When a woman lets a man step up and initiate a relationship, he feels more like a man and she feels like the lovely woman she is created to be. After watching men, women and relationships over the years, I have come to fall in love with the stories where guys go for what they want. It's a beautiful and wonderful thing! Women, we don't need to focus and obsess over all the guys we like and those we don't; we just need to be open, wait and trust. The best advice I can give on waiting and understanding the opposite sex is to encourage you to jump into friendships with guys - with no intentions of romance. Learn from these friendships, learn about guys. It'll help so much!

Let go of the ones that don't REALLY want to be with you: I wish I would have learned this LONG ago! Have you ever heard of the book, He's Just Not That Into You? The book describes all the ways that guys show girls that they are "not that into" her. One of the things a guy like this will do is tell you that he'll call you and then just not call. He might talk as sweet as can be when you're together or on online, but if he's not following through with the phone calls, let him go. If you let go of the desire to be with this guy, he will either leave your heart alone so you can heal and find strength and love without him, or he'll decide he REALLY wants to be with you. Either way, your heart will thank you in the long run. Although there is a risk in losing a friendship or relationship, your heart deserves better. A guy willing to pursue you will jump through hoops for you. If you ask him to live chastity, he'll do it. If you want to take things slowly, he'll do it. If you want him to guard your heart by not letting the relationship get too clingy and focused in one another, he'll respect that. You deserve to be pursued. Wait on it.

Guard your heart: One of the unique attributes of a woman is her emotional and relational strength. We can connect easily, relate our emotions to anything in life and join in deep, intimate bonds with people without even realizing it. Unless we've been deeply betrayed, this is a natural ability for women. However, when we give our hearts to every guy that we're attracted to, even on deeper levels, we start to chip away at this strength. The pain of being rejected by guy after guy, or relationships just not working out for a variety of reasons, subconsciously teaches us to withdraw our heart a little more in the next relationship, to not get as hurt. Then we withdraw more and more. We feel like we're continuing to give our hearts, but we're just becoming emotionally clingy, needy due to the pain in our heart, or we're becoming emotionally cold from all the hurt. Do not let your heart enter into a relationship until the man has made taken responsibility for it. If he speaks of protecting and guarding your heart, and does not use emotional manipulation to draw you closer, he's a good guy. If he just flirts with you a lot or talks to you for hours or even gives you the most obvious hints that he likes you, continue to keep some emotional distance to guard your heart. If you do, you'll give the man you marry a full, thriving, vibrant heart.

The Waiting and Trusting, when the phone does not ring...

Love deeply and powerful: Guarding your heart does not mean you are "standing outside the fire" of love and life. I encourage you to love people in your life deeply. Sacrifice for your friends and family, listen until it hurts, go out of your way for people. Do not hold back on relationships, friendships or experiencing life. While you're waiting on God's timing, find healthy relationships with your girlfriends and especially with family members. Guarding your heart relates more to the guys you think might like you romantically or the ones that you're attracted to - this is when you need to be careful. Love others, love the power of your heart, love who God created you to be, and love your future spouse!

Get a Love Life: Guys like girls who are full of love and life.  I describe this specifically for the singles in my blog "I'm in Love".  While you wait, pray and fill your life with incredible friendships, improve your family relationships. Let God fill that desire for a deep, intimate relationship. In fact, He is the only person who can fill it completely. Even my fabulous Michael cannot hold a candle to the love and intimacy that I have in my relationship with Jesus. Focus on Him and let Him love you. Let Him overwhelm you with love. Visit the Adoration Chapel frequently, go to Daily Mass, pray through the Bible, read about saints and the powerful beautiful love they experienced - many of them were not married or in any romantic relationships at all. Fall in love with people, with the Lord, with life. This will actually make you more attractive to the opposite sex than anything else.

Summary...

Let this guy go. In fact, let go of any guy who flirts or pays extra attention to you but is not willing to fight for you. Call men to be heroes, to have the courage to approach and pursue women. He might be a very nice guy; you both may have a lot in common, but keep it only at a friendship level. Treat him no differently than other guys you have as friends. And if there has been a date or "feelings" involved on your end or his, take a break from communication with him. Don't call him back immediately, take your time. Don't respond to emails immediately. Gain your space and peace again. When things were not going well with a guy I used to like, the best thing he did was stop returning my calls. I got the picture and moved on much quicker than if he had tried to linger.

I encourage you to check out another book called Dateable; it's a quick and fun read. I think you'll really enjoy it. It's all about this type of stuff, but given from both the male and female perspective. Be assured of my prayers in the meantime and know that I am always here if you have any more questions or clarifications about what I wrote.