Ask Amy: How does a girl get a little action on a date?

September 13, 2013 

Dear Amy: I'm just past 40 and have been divorced for three years. I've briefly dated a handful of guys, all of whom I met through work or friends. None of these mini-relationships have ended well — most barely started — but all have one striking similarity: The men are happy to go to lunch or dinner with me but balk at spending any "quality time" together.

When I invite these men to join me for something as simple as an afternoon bike ride, the response is always either: 1) a flimsy excuse, with no follow-up by suggesting another activity, 2) hedging (one guy responded to my invitation with, "Will it take long?"), or 3) complete silence — they ignored the request altogether.

None of these guys has ever initiated an activity date. I find this behavior incredibly rude and frustrating. How can people get to know each other if they don't spend time together?

I'm not sleeping with these guys, so what do they get out of just having dinner? Has dating changed so much that this is considered totally acceptable? For all these men, I cut it off once it was clear it was going nowhere, but now I feel the pattern will just repeat itself, and I shouldn't bother going out at all.

— Dazed and confused

Dear Dazed: For most people, sharing a meal is an appropriate way to get to know and connect with someone. Some men actually enjoy conversation and a good meal, even if they don't have sex afterward! Imagine that!

I believe you have a valid point, but rather than try to change every man you encounter, the smart thing to do is to look at this established pattern and then look in the mirror — and see what you can do differently.

You are lumping all these men into the same category and judging them harshly. Perhaps they sense they are being tested when you throw down the idea to go on a bike ride, or they are terrified about being trapped with you in a context where they can't simply ask for the check and flee.

The most obvious solution is for you to join clubs or engage in activities where you will meet people who have the energy and desire to be active and adventurous.

Dear Amy: I'm responding to the letter from "Unsure," whose friend hit on his wife. If he has to now watch his friend like a hawk, the sun may already be setting on the relationship with his wife.

It seems to me a frank conversation between Unsure and his wife is called for immediately. This four-way friendship is doomed.

— Experienced


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