Dear Jody: Making her mine

Q: This is pretty embarrassing to admit, but I have never really had a "normal" relationship. I mean, a relationship where two people date or have a real life together.

I did have a long, sort of relationship with a woman who really didn't want me - other than for sex. She was seeing other women during the time that I was involved with her. (She never wanted to go out with me to a movie, party or anything that normal people do.) I stupidly thought that one day she'd see the light and settle down with me. Well, nine years - and lots of therapy - later, I realized that that wasn't going to happen. I also spent my time in therapy dealing with why I would go for that kind of relationship.

The good news is that I feel like I'm now ready for a good relationship, and my therapist thinks so, too. (I'll be 40 next year.) I have been dating and finally feel like I met someone who could be Ms. Right. She has all the right stuff, physically and in every other way.

I met this person on a dating site. I went out with her and it really went well. She said that she'd call me when she got back; she was going out of town for two weeks. She said that she really enjoyed our time together and thought we had things in common - as well as chemistry. I thought so, too. So we left it at her calling me. Well, it was three-and-a-half weeks later and I heard nothing, so I made an excuse to text her. Two days after that, she contacted me back and asked if I wanted to go have a drink that weekend. Of course I did. Again we had a great time. This basic scenario of my always being the person who contacts her has been going on now for three months; then we go out, she doesn't call back, then we connect because I make the effort, and we do something, both of us always having a good time. (Believe me, she's having a good time too; it's not just me.)

We have not had sex, which drives me crazy, but we have kissed. The kisses rank somewhere between you-are-a-friend kiss to something pretty hot, but not leading to anything. If I try to push it, she backs off, saying she's not ready.

I'm certain this isn't another case of me trying to be with someone who doesn't want me; I've described this to my therapist and she agrees with me. My therapist does think that maybe this woman is not ready for a relationship, but I know that she wants a relationship, or why would she be on the dating site? In her blurb about herself, she said her "goal in life was a permanent relationship." She told me that in her last relationship, which lasted 12 years, her partner left her for another woman - that was about six months ago.

I don't know what I need to do to put a fire under this woman. After all, six months is a long time and I can tell that she likes me and is attracted to me. What do you suggest I do?

Hot to Trot

A: I'm with your therapist on this one, and suggest you cool your jets. Six months is not a long time, especially after a breakup in which her partner of 12 years left her for another person. Healing just doesn't happen that fast. She's still hurting and is gun shy. She's probably more in the dating mode and hoping for a permanent relationship in the future. Your eagerness could be scaring her.

You are really ready for a Ms. Right - right now. You and she are at very different places in regards to "readiness" for a serious relationship, so you might want to move on and find someone who's ready, like you are, to be a couple. However, if you truly feel that this woman could be Ms. Right, you'd be wise to sit back and let things happen slowly, at her pace. Otherwise, you will scare her off.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly. Reach Jody at Letters may be edited for clarity and length.
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