High Maintenance Men

High Maintenance Men

My friend Amanda is dating a guy she’s crazy about. He has a big job, a cool place, and best of all, according to her, they have “amazing” chemistry. They’ve been going out since July. There’s only one problem. He has started a pattern where they get together and have loads of fun ending with mind-blowing sex, then she doesn’t hear from him for a week or two. Or, sometimes, three.

Because she comes to me for advice, I’ve gotten involved…a little. She assures me that when they’re together, he is completely “present”. He is regularly complimenting her, being affectionate, and already refers to future things he wants to do together. He talks about them in associate terms: we, us, our, etc. She has decided that his inconsistencies are because of fear: He’s been single for a long time and is afraid of falling in love again. Every time she sees him, she is convinced that this time has made the difference and he has turned a corner in his mind about taking the relationship to the next level.

But it doesn’t happen.

Amanda is a gushy girl. She has “big” feelings and a big personality to go with them, which makes her fun to be around, already though over the top at times. She is also smart, attractive, and sexy. But soon after she and cool guy started dating, after the initial rush of excitement and euphoria and she was sure that they were falling headlong in love, she was not thinking smart. The love sickness had made her dumb. She was texting him, leaving him sexy voicemails, and sending him books on “Spiritual Sex”. She was calling him “sweetie, baby, honey.” He responded by holding her further and further away until, before she knew it, she was at arm’s length. That’s when she panicked.

At first, she listened to my advice and acted on it. He left town for a week on business. I told her not to contact him while he was gone. She almost had a breakdown, but she did it. She called me every day, asking if just a short email would be okay? Maybe a text? Or maybe she should call his assistant to find out exactly when he would be back in town? I said no to all of it. She had misgivings about my strategy. After all, she just wanted to let him know she was thinking about him in a nurturing way and to wish him success on his trip. Kiss of death, I said. She pouted, but followed my advice.

She was elated when he called her the day he got back to position a date. He wanted to see her in the worst way. What had charmed him, I told her, was her self-restraint. She wasn’t going all crazy on him. She didn’t need him. She clearly had other things to do with her life. It was an elixir to this successful businessman and it made him see her as more balanced. Which made him relax and feel better about spending time with her.

This lasted awhile. Amanda eagerly sought my advice whenever there was a question about how she should respond. Then she followed it. The guy responded by becoming more interested in her, calling and seeing her more, bringing her a little closer each time. Not exactly professing his love for her, but it was starting to look promising. I was getting cautiously hopeful.

But secretly, I had some doubts. From my vantage point, this man seemed to be difficult and selfish. It would be a lot of work to be in a relationship with him and would take a ton of self-restraint, which I wasn’t sure Amanda had. The big questions in my mind: Was it worth it? Could this be a situation of “be careful what you ask for”? Or, was this just a nice guy who had been burned in the past and was now a little gun-shy?

Mr. Wonderful had told her in the beginning that he was super busy, he traveled a lot and she should have no expectations. As assistant to a vice-president in a global company, she understood. She assured him that she “got” it and would sustain him in any way she could. In other words, she closest positioned herself as another assistant. When I told her this, she protested that successful men don’t want high-maintenance women, that if you want to be with such a man, you have to be a place of respite and relaxation for them, not a place where more demands are made. (Sounds like the job of a specialty hooker to me.) I think this bright advice came from the lips of one of the many psychics she consulted on an almost daily basis. While it is certainly true that nobody wants a high-maintenance lover, in the beginning, making yourself less important than the man is a sure-fire way to get yourself dumped.

And besides, who was being high-maintenance here?

So from the get-go, the guy was in total control. He decided when he wanted to see her and where. She has struggled to continue a laid-back attitude and not make any demands, afraid that already the smallest will make him look for greener pastures. He can go away for weeks at a time without a peep, and when he finally does call, she is all sweetness and light, loving and accepting, as though she just talked to him yesterday. The perfect embodiment of “no expectations”. Meanwhile, she is fretting and fuming, spending her hard earned money on psychic after psychic, and calling all of her friends for advice. Where does it get her? Confused.

My counsel is different. It is counter-intuitive. In other words, it’s the opposite of what her insistent feelings are telling her to do. While I don’t advocate a demanding attitude, or becoming high-maintenance, small demands, or requests, after a few months of dating can tell a woman everything she needs to know about her love interest. It’s the fastest, easiest way to tell you what you are to a man and if he will ever give you what you want.

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