Time is of the essence, and that's especially true when it comes to relationships. Wayne and Wanda have recently received letters from readers grappling with issues relating to time -- from meeting a guy who's "not ready" for a relationship to a woman wondering how to pin down her free-wheeling bestie for a friend date. Read on:
Dear Wayne and Wanda,
A few months ago, I met "Paul." Paul told me he'd recently broken up with a long-term girlfriend. Despite that, we were moving at a good pace, spending time together, with him initiating most contact every day. He introduced me to his best friends, his dad and his sister. Everything seemed great. Then, last weekend, he says he's "not ready" and things are moving too fast. What?! He was the one setting the pace. If it was fast, it was his fault! He said he's not ready now, but he might be down the road. I feel like waiting to give him a chance to come around. Is that stupid?
Wanda says:You've stumbled upon a real classic: the man who can't be alone, but can't be with someone. He's a mystifying creature. He gives off all the signals of wanting commitment, pursues you hard and seems extraordinarily eager to lock in the alluring comfort of intimacy. Then comes the 11th-hour curveball, when he suddenly stops sprinting, catches his breath and announces things are going too fast.
I'm sure Paul loves the physical and emotional thrill of getting to know a new romantic partner. Who doesn't? In fact, I bet Paul loves this phase so much that he's already doing it with someone else! Some people just can't be alone and aren't grounded enough to commit to moving a relationship past the starting gate. Don't spend any more time waiting for this guy to come around. Keep your head up and eyes open for someone who's emotionally available to meeting your needs.
Wayne says: Wait, wait, hold on a second ... I'm out of breath. All this sprinting is killing me.
Wanda's right, though. This guy is noncommittal and addicted to the chase. Heck, men love the hunt. It's in our blood -- we can't help but set our sights on beautiful women and do whatever it takes to get them to notice us -- and, hopefully, fall for us. Flowers, chocolates, mixtapes, humiliation -- no price is too high!
But we aren't all like this catch-and-release fisherman. When most of us land that lovely lady, we want to enjoy the payoff of our hard work and will happily take the next step in building a relationship. This guy, while a great hunter, is a terrible sportsman. Cut bait on this bottom-feeder.
Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I have known my friend "Dan" since college. I am more Type A than Dan. He's more free-spirited. Through the years, this has been good for us, making us both more balanced people and helping us to see situations from different perspectives. Lately it's becoming an issue. It is impossible to get Dan to commit to anything. When I suggest meeting for dinner or drinks, he's noncommittal and says things like, "I'll let you know." Then I never hear from him, but see photos of him on Facebook surrounded by cool-looking people or checking in at restaurants on the same nights I asked him to dinner and he never got back to me. Oh, but when Dan calls me on the fly to see if I can drop everything to hang out, he gets irritated when I already have plans. I feel like this disconnect is hurting our friendship. Help?
Wanda says: Never has it been easier to make, break or avoid plans than today, when the uber-connectivity of our world assails us with a constant slew of options. This is good news for people -- like you -- who love to gather information and make a plan. It's bad news for someone like your buddy, who doesn't know exactly what he'll do until he's already doing it.
Personally, I find your friend's behavior slightly disrespectful. You're not asking for a report on his nightly behavior. You're just asking that, in this very busy world, he occasionally agree to do something with you at a set time and place so that you're guaranteed quality time. You're requesting this because you care about him. He's avoiding committing to this in case a better offer comes along. Not cool.
Wayne says: Girlfriend, you've either found yourself a Grade A Flaker or a Grade A People Pleaser, and the result of dating either of them is the same: you'll always be an option, but never a priority. In his world, he's quick to say yes to whatever is in front of him, but in his mind there's always going to be a better menu in the next restaurant, a better deal for tires at the next shop or more fun to have with the next text message.
You can give it a shot and talk to him about how he has to try harder to make and keep solid plans with you because that's how adults operate, and say you'll work harder to be more spontaneous to hang more in his world. But it won't get you a long-term win; you'll just get more frustration.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.