Women Don't Call Back

Q: I am a single 34 year old male who has been meeting women, but unfortunately most of them have been mysteriously disappearing on me -- the exception being two female friends I've made in the past year. It doesn't matter if I meet women in person or from online personal ads. It's always the same old scenario and I'm very frustrated.

For example, I met a girl back in April and we got along well. She even gave me a quick kiss at the end of the date. She also sent me a cute Easter E-card the next day. You'd think that a second get-together would have been a certainty. But she never kept in touch, though I contacted her twice and she said she'd get back to me. All my single friends have complained about the same thing happening to them. We have a good time with the girls but then they mysteriously decide to blow us off.

I realize that men play games or flake out on women too, but I believe that women in general (not all) tend to be more fickle. I'm not a woman-hater, but what do you believe makes women act like I just described?

Dr. Susan: C'mon now. Women have long complained about men who say they'll call and then never do. You have to realize that we're talking about human nature here, not male or female nature. People lie. It's unfortunate but true. And singles lie for the same reasons anyone else does: to protect themselves, or because they've had second thoughts and changed their minds, or because, sometimes, because they're inconsiderate flakes.

Let's say, though, that women are slightly more fickle than men (I don't agree for a minute, but work with me). Why would that be? For one thing, women are taught from toddlerhood on to be "nice." We've also learned to fear men's anger, and plenty of men -- not you, surely, dear advice-seeker -- do get angry when women blow them off directly. Men have been known to argue with women who say they're not interested. So women sometimes learn to soften the blow with an "I'll call you." Save a lot of trouble, they think. Sure, it's passive-aggressive and dishonest and hurtful and confusing in the long run, but by that time, they're gone from your life and don't care.

How to make such scenarios less likely? Work harder at picking up subtle cues so that you don't pursue women unless you're SURE you're liked in return. For instance, is she acting a bit covert? Does she refuse to give you her home phone number, or not let you see her house even after you've had a couple seemingly good dates? Does she limit her online or phone chat to the most inane generalities? Do you even know if she's currently dating someone else or how and when her last relationship ended?

With online dating in particular, it's really easy to pretend to be different from your real self. So let the buyer beware: since you can't see or hear the subtle body and voice cues, don't assume anything is true until you've had some serious, lengthy, and detailed conversations.

And don't forget: dating is a process of figuring out if someone's worth dating some more. So don't take it so personally if some women have chosen to move on after meeting you. Keep an open mind and keep hunting.

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