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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
I’m well aware of your advice that the woman’s Interest Level is EVERYTHING in a dating relationship. Since I learned that, no matter what I’m feeling, I operate according to the reality of that principle.
My problem involves a local celebrity I’ve gone out with for three months. I’m an attorney in a midsize city in the Pacific Northwest. Being seen in the company of a news anchor is a big deal here. I’m not dating Reese because of an interest in show biz, quite the contrary. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend and there was chemistry right away, both intellectually and physically. By the third month we were inseparable. Mostly she called me. I kept to a five-day interval between calls, and when she called me I forced myself to wait one day before returning it.
Anyway, the problem finally arrived. Reese called Friday night and told me she wanted me to attend her parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary on Sunday afternoon. For an important family event, the custom is to give plenty of advance time. I told Reese that I already had plans for Sunday and that I hoped everyone had a good time but that I couldn’t go. Ten minutes later she called again. She was furious. “You should consider yourself lucky that I even invited you to this event!” That sort of thing. Apparently she was under the impression that I was under her control like every other guy in town. Then she gave me an ultimatum. Either I changed my Sunday plans or I was out of her life. I calmly told her that I wouldn’t be attending because I didn’t have enough notice and because I had other plans. She slammed the phone down and I went to bed.
Even though I was angry, I didn’t call Reese back. On Monday she phoned me at my office. She apologized for acting the way she did and said she’d been having a female problem that made her uncontrollable. She asked me to forgive her.
I told her I would. Then she confessed that she actually had another date for her parents’ anniversary but he backed out and she called me. She said, “It wasn’t fair to you, and I wanted you to know.” She added that she asked the other guy months before she started dating me and was only interested in dating me.
My question is this: should I give Reese another chance? The way I see it, she was inflexible and she lied. That’s two strikes. Should I give her a third?
Wilbur - who’s confused but moving on
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Interest Level isn’t only everything; it’s the NUMBER ONE THING.
Pal, I hope you don’t react to being seen in the company of an anchor. But I’m happy that you two had instant chemistry. Like the great Doctor Freud once said, “Ah! That rare moment in time when you both pass the physical attraction test with flying colors!”
I’m glad you forced yourself not to fall all over this girl and didn’t call her back the minute she phoned you. Beautiful! What a tough guy you are.
Wilbur, for any event there has to be plenty of advance notice, not just family events. But you should have taken the date anyway, my friend, because it was INCOMING. To you Psych majors, I know it was short notice, but it’s better to get time in with the girl. At least you would have been there with her on Sunday, and you could have found out up close and personal why she waited so long to invite you to the party.
The point is that you don’t know for sure that Reese was trying to control you. Guy, you don’t know what she was doing. You’re just grabbing at straws. It could have been one of five different things that she was up to when she threw her little fit.
But then she issued you an ultimatum. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but myself, I don’t deal with people who give me ultimatums. I don’t like it in business, and I don’t like it in my social life.
Forgiving this girl was a BIG MISTAKE. You should have told her “Let me think about this. Why don’t you get back to me in four weeks?” Reese can’t get off the hook just like that. She has to receive temporal punishment for her sin. She can’t say, “Oh – sorry, forgive me,” and then you absolve her of all wrongdoing right away.
Revealing that she had another date who backed out and you were second choice was the dumbest thing Reese ever could have come out with. She should have kept her bee-stung lips shut and been happy that you were still there. Why is it that most women have this compulsion to confess things that will only puncture a man’s sensitivities?
Wanting you to know about her subterfuge was stupid logic. How is your knowing that Reese is a sneak going to make you feel better? How is it going to boost your Interest Level? No way. This girl may be a talented journalist, but she’s got a lot to learn about graciousness.
If Reese only wanted to date you, she should have called the other guy and cancelled her date with him after she went out with you for a couple of months. She should have told him, “Listen, we won’t be going to my parents’ function.” But she didn’t do that. Worse, she asked this guy to go with her six months before the day of the party and she asked you two days before the date. Was there somebody else in there she was thinking of inviting? HUGE RED FLAG.
Should you give Reese another chance? You already gave her another chance when you shot your mouth off and told her you were letting her off the hook. You didn’t say you’d think about it. You didn’t tell her to call you in a month and then saw what she did with it. If you had, you would really have found out where she was coming from.
So don’t give her a third strike, Wilbur. She doesn’t deserve it.
Remember, guys: if she’s structured and can’t tell the truth, it’s time to get out of there.
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