Ask Lisa: I Thought Things Were Going Well?


Respect

Here is a recent email I received that I would like to share with you because it seems many people are having this experience and are becoming disenchanted with the whole dating process.

A gent flirted and asked to connect….I hesitantly inquired if a long distance relationship was something he wanted….he responded back, “for the right person”. He asked for my number and he called. We had a wonderful phone conversation. He said he felt that we were a great match.

He stated he was coming to my area to visit his family since he had Monday off. I suggested maybe we could meet for Mass on Sunday…..that I would be willing to come down on Sunday ( a 2 hour drive from Cleveland ) to meet for Mass and have brunch. He said he would call!

Well, he emailed Saturday night at 10pm for a noon Mass that following Day. Honestly, by 5pm on Saturday, I had disappointedly let go. I wont settle anymore…I was willing to go the extra mile…but this was a lack of kindness and thoughtfulness. The kind thing to do was to call (since he had my phone number) or text on Friday or even Saturday morning. Was I too assertive? I don’t think so! Does he need to take control? Who knows….This experience has taught me that I need to keep honoring myself….my self respect….and now it is let time to let go. For some reason fear moved him and prevented a great opportunity and a fun adventure! 

I agree with the author of this letter. If the gentleman had her number, he should have called early on instead of emailing late at night. No one can fault someone for having a change of heart, but there seems to be a creeping lack of respect for others that is somehow taking over. This behavior is indicative of dating laziness, this weird phenomenon I have seen in both men and women. This scenario begs the question, why does this happen?

Maybe it’s because there has been a gradual relaxing of standards in the last few generations of couples and this is the example of how to treat your spouse that has been handed down to the children who are now dating adults? Maybe people like this are just innately selfish? Maybe the current reign of technology in everyday life has helped to relax social standards to the point that making an effort to be polite seems to be too difficult?

People tend to forget that dating is a minor form of practice for living together as a married couple. How two people treat each other while they are dating will give you an excellent idea of what their marriage will be like – except not as nice. If they are selfish and lazy in a dating relationship that is still new and has some romance in it, it will be the same in marriage, only harder to deal with because the romance will rapidly fade and the honeymoon always comes to an end. Then, they are left with having to accept each other as they are and find a way to stay together through life’s challenges. Not a great way to build a marriage.

If you contrast the dating process today with the way it was when my own parents were dating (mid 1950′s) it’s somewhat alarming to note the cavaliere attitude many people have toward the importance of courtship. My father and mother treated each other with common courtesy and respect as was the norm back in the day, and I’m not merely talking about respecting each other’s virginity, I’m talking about respecting each others feelings as well as each other’s dignity as persons.

This is why it is so important to remember the purpose of dating, which is to find out if you are meant to spend the rest of your life with the person you are dating. Having fun and being romantic is certainly important, but at the same time, you should be taking note of who the person you are dating is and if you could be happy with them for the rest of your life. For example, what are his common tendencies? What are her reactions to people and situations? How well does your style of communication blend? How does he treat other people (parents and siblings, work associates, new people he meets, etc.)? It’s important to do this due diligence as you continue a dating relationship.

Thank you for all your feedback, comments and questions. If you have something you’d like to say but haven’t said it yet, just email me at asklisa@catholicmatch.com.






31 Comments

  1. I agree what you said

  2. Sara-979131 April 28, 2014

    Thank-you for sharing this. I think you’re correct in this assessment:
    Maybe the current reign of technology in everyday life has helped to relax social standards to the point that making an effort to be polite seems to be too difficult?

    A fellow contacted me on a Friday to say that he too (like the woman in your story) was coming to visit his family for the weekend and asked if we could meet. Despite feeling it was last minute, I outlined to him a few openings I had free. Then, I never heard from him again…ever. This lack of communications stings and I’ve started to harbor cynicism. The only positive thing I take away from experiences like this is a detachment from mankind in general.

  3. Ann-69118 April 28, 2014

    I learned from my first internet dating experience that it was best not to take the whole thing so seriously till you have met and have an acknowledged understanding as to where the relationship might go or where you feel you would like to go. I was contacted by someone a few states a way and we had regular phone calls a few hours in length each week for several weeks. He asked to come and meet me then cancelled at the last minute. I let him do that 2xs then let things go and stopped accepting his calls. It was a good lesson. Funny thing he tried to contact me a few more times several years later. He was in town and had nothing better to do as one of his emails said. I never bother to reply.

  4. As one party had to drive two hours, they should have been accommodated more. Yes, he had to see his family, but could have carved specific time out for her.

  5. Basic respect for another person is certainly lacking these days. I agree with the above poster not to put so much weight onto a person and a relationship until you have met a few times and decided where the relationship is actually going.

  6. The better question is whether a long distance relationship is worth the effort? I know there have been some success stories of long distance relationships working from people who met on this site, but I imagine those are few and far between. I suppose since I live in Chicago, I have the benefit of living in a densely populated area that makes it certainly easier to meet someone who lives within a reasonable driving distance in contrast to someone who lives in Wyoming or something. So, if long distance is your only option, then I suppose you have to do what you have to do. But, for those like me, where it really isn’t necessary, why put all your time and effort into it?

    Several years ago I communicated with someone who lived in the Detroit area. Since we still lived close enough where getting on a plane to meet wasn’t necessary, I decide to keep an open mind. However, I wasn’t about to take the time to meet her until I felt we had a huge connection. Then, after about a month on long in depth emails and phone calls, I decide to arrange a lunch date half way. I meant a 5 hour plus round trip, but she was on board so I decided to go ahead. It was a lot of effort for a 20 minute or so encounter.

    I wanted to spend more time with her but I simply thought that since she had long drive back home, that was the reason she wanted to leave so quickly. It wasn’t. 2 weeks went bye and I heard nothing. Finally, she sent me a 1 line email saying we weren’t a match. I still really don’t know what went wrong, but if she had simply been someone who lived locally, it would have been much ado about nothing. After that encounter, I really dont date anyone who lives more than 100 miles away, and anything beyond 200 is way too far. I figure if I cant meet someone who lives within a reasonable distance, then God is telling me to remain single.

    • awww…im sorry about that Patrick…now i understand your reluctance….
      but i still think you should have an open mind…perhaps that is what God is telling you..my two cents..:)

  7. Pat-5351 April 28, 2014

    Yes, it was “rude” to email 14 hours before hand with the offer of a plan to meet. In his defense, he was visiting family, and he might not have known when he would be free such that he could plan for this date with her. I think everyone has visited family and you are “at their disposal” because you are a guest there. I can see how that would happen. What he should have said when making the offer to get together is, “you know, I am visiting my mom, and she always has plans made for me to do things for her around the house, take her places, etc. so I am not going to know exactly when we could meet for mass until I get there, maybe later on Saturday, is that okay with you?” That would have made all the difference. Instead, by not doing that, he blew it with this particular woman. Someone else who is a more last minute, roll with the situation sort of person might have emailed back “great looking forward to it!” But not this woman. So they are not a match, that is too bad, so everyone moves on.

  8. Conventional wisdom (I’ve been studying up ;) ) says that a woman should not accept a date proposed by a man less than three days in advance. Now, every woman can make up whatever expectations and boundaries she needs to feel comfortable in dating, it doesn’t have to be three days, but I like the idea of having a certain timeframe like that so when he calls last minute and I don’t feel good about it then I have a sense of respectability to fall back on. I would tell him “I’m sorry, I hadn’t heard from you about Saturday and I didn’t feel good about that so I made other plans”. Then if he wants he can apologize for his tardiness and ask if I’d be willing to give him a chance at another date sometime, or not.

  9. Sure it was wrong of him to do that, but for all you know there was some reason? I’m just saying I might have actually met in person before writing them off completely. You only get so many chances, and if you set very rigid and strict rules (3 days, etc) that may mean even less chances to meet the right person.

    • Good point. I think the “rule” is more to help the woman know what kind of treatment she deserves than to rule the man out. If he is a good man and had a good reason then when she says “I’m sorry, it’s too late now” then I would imagine he would apologize to her and ask her if she’d give him another chance at another date, thus proving the kind of good man he is. And if she’s a good woman, then she’ll accept his apology and give him that chance, what do you think?

    • Brian-911245 makes some good points.

  10. My roommate and I were just having this discussion last night. She and I have encountered this type of behavior many times. Surely these new generational waves of men are not being taught this behavior by their fathers or are they? We’ve heard the quote, “the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference”. It’s difficult not to have a stony heart with such treatment.

    We must follow the words of Mother Teresa – “People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway”. Look to Our Blessed Mother as our role model. You can in fact be honest about your feelings, when they are hurt, sad, disappointed, or angry. It’s okay to tell these men and women how their actions are making you feel. We are called be warm loving creatures in an icy cold world.

    It’s all part of drawing closer to our Creator, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother which eventually leads to Divine Mercy. The two Spiritual Works of Mercy are instructing the ignorant and admonish sinners patiently and gracefully of course.

    It’s nice to see this post as awareness is the beginning of change. We continue to pray for our culture!

  11. I recently encountered a similiar situation with an email that night before a date to cancel, but still wanted to meet. I was not please to receive a late-night email, when it should have been a phone call.

    It’s bad communication, making for a bad relationship. End of story.

  12. I can see how hurt someone would be with just an email at such a late hour! But, as a busy person who often has to just ‘roll’ with the necessary last minute changes in plans, especially with extended family involved or kids getting sick, etc, I can see how planning ahead can be difficult. I think a phone call (maybe a text to ask if calling now about plans was ok) would have been much more mannerly, kinder, and shown respect and appreciation for the effort involved.
    If someone doesn’t show respect in communication during dating, when will they ‘magically’ start being respectful?

  13. It is indeed disappointing informing a lady late, but I would not get affected since this happened once. Why not forgive him? No one is perfect anyhow and is fully able to feed our expectations. What if it is a man’s way of testing her patience and understanding?
    These days men are also prudent in choosing a right lady. A person who has a capacity to sacrifice, persevere, understand in their differences.

  14. Women may be rude as well. Especially if they get into ‘love at first sight mode’.

    If there is distance, more consideration is required (planning!) Perhaps in the original case study the woman could have said ‘this is late for you to contact me…I can’t adapt. I know you have family this weekend. But next time how about you come to meet me here or in a neutral city?’ For all she knows maybe his relative is sick and he doesn’t want to share that so soon. This approach also keeps the door open for a relationship, but puts the onus on him to make a commitment focused on her.

    If a guy emails the night before, what is wrong with that? Maybe he didn’t want to call a relatively new person…she may have been sleeping! If he repeatedly does that, drop him. If he did that once, give him a break!

  15. I think both sides need to be firm on the meeting. Be honest & say it was not a good time. Go for another chance, then if it doesn’t work out you will know. Sometimes I think the guy/man is more scared than you think.
    However they/both need to be respectful and honest. Church may not be the place to meet the first time, just coffee or tea, etc., for an hour or so. Meeting half way for each is a good way to start. I can’t even get a
    commitment for the man to commit, half way. Blessings to all, Elizabeth

  16. Meg-920823 April 29, 2014

    Yes he did not show consideration, courtesy and courage (if fear rather than thoughtlessness was his issue). I am glad she took the stand for herself. As your article says, if this now, what will it be later on; yikes.

  17. I agree that’s rude. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve just been surrounded by too many good men in my brothers and Dad that my expectations are unreasonable. Then, when it comes down to it, I just expect them to be kind, respectful and willing to go out of their way for other people (aside from everything you expect from a Catholic man.) Sadly, I know I could never be happy with anything less.

  18. Goodness gracious!! I don’t believe I’ve ever read so much self righteous, finger pointing, absurd condemnation. Lisa, please, let’s give the young man credit for calling and extra credit for asking the young woman to attend Mass with him. I believe the young lady could and should have been more forgiving and compassionate, gone to Mass and taken communion with the young man. It sounds like she would have been good for his Type B personality and he for her Type A personality and the two would have been a magnificent couple, gotten married, had a dozen, perfect AB children, became wealthy and famous lawyers in Chicago and eventually ended up in the White House…..with her becoming the first female president of the United States of America!!! But, because of her childish and immature pride, apparently she threw it all away and went her own, lonely, finger-pointing way. Ladies, please wake up, smell the coffee and think about taxi cabs and elevators: there’s always one right after the last one and you’re not standing on an escalator taking you to Heaven.

  19. I am living something similar and now I am asking myself “Why when I am thinking that things are going well something happens and it is like I have to come back to the beginning?”
    This only happens in my romantic life, all other aspects of my life I am achieving, but what I really misses (have my family) I couldn’t have. Only hurtting my heart again and again.

  20. Andrew, I truly truly appreciate your comment! Maybe because I reason like that too– that in the grand picture, there are endless possibilities for good to happen. We just have to let it! A struggle indeed, but a good note for each case. Glad you came so “out” with it!

    All things being equal, he could have been most grateful if she had acted “unreasonably” enough to still accept a Mass date with him on such a short call. Anything may have happened on his part… they may have even re-scheduled, on the brighter side.

    I hope the best for each party involved!

  21. Genevieve, thank you for your perceptive and affirming insights. I think the problem we’re having today in the era of instant messaging/instant replies/instant gratification is that people subconsciously assume instant relationships are possible—and then go on, with high expectations of assumed friendship, to judge the appropriateness of the initial day/week/month of communications. Personally, when I’m trying to meet someone, I don’t make any assumptions for weeks and sometimes even months because I don’t know what is going on in his/her personal life. You are absolutely correct: “There are endless possibilities for good to happen. We just have to let it!” Trust me, that sometimes takes the patience of Job, but if God made it worthwhile for Job, he’ll make it more than worthwhile for anyone who acts with love and then practices patience.

  22. I’m sorry…but I agree with Andrew and don’t get much of the reaction here. Sure, if he said he would call, then he should have called, and it would have been thoughtful of him to call sooner. But the “thought police” approach on email-phone-timing protocol is a bit much to ask for, imo. Did he mean to be rude? Was he testing her? I doubt it on both accounts. He could have been tied up with his family; he may have wanted to play it more laid back to avoid coming off as pushy or desperate for her sake (admittedly, this was a bad judgment call if this was his thinking), or some other reason. We don’t really know. We’re called to give people the benefit of the doubt, right? This is what love requires. Countless times I’ve been in email situations where it seemed (to me at least) that the other party should have responded sooner or answered my question or whatever. We all have different ways of communicating–especially before we meet and get to know each other and what to expect from one another. Looks to me like this lady blew a chance; and they don’t always come along that often.

  23. I finally understand what happened after reading Andrew’s comment. I thought by the way Lisa was talking, she had been stood up. However, this is not the case, she in fact rejected this man quite rudely, in fact.
    However, I don’t think going to mass is a venue for meeting someone for a date. Mass is a special time devoted to God, our Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and all the angels and saints. Mass is not a time to divide one’s attention with a meeting someone for the first time. I’m sure the man must have thought, “What a strange girl”.

  24. I’m with Andrew on this after reading the posts, there is a bit much condemnation and as Vera said, “rejected the man quite rudely” give it a chance to see if the assumption is valid (If he is a lamo). It is the assumption trap that is easy fall into as we realize becoming mature we know our dignity and we don’t have to cry foul every little bump in the road.
    When you get the chance (or asked), I hope you dance! Ladies/girls not replying to messages and not after a compliment or question seems to be more the norm, frustrating especially when they first view your photo/profile.

  25. Has happened to me several times on this site. I was recently contacted and asked out for the upcoming weekend but because it was two days notice and I had plans, I suggested the following weekend. I never heard back from him again. It’s just rude to assume people can drop whatever they are doing (and in this case it was a planned group dinner for a friends birthday). Texting at 10 pm is not acceptable. Good for this writer for standing up for herself. We deserve more. :)

  26. This seems nit-picky to me. Some people are more laid back about time than others. It has nothing to do with courtesy, merely a difference in personality. I wouldn’t want to date someone who would be uptight about finalizing plans last minute or about whether one called or emailed. Courtesy and manners are certainly important, but I don’t consider this an example of how they were violated grossly.

  27. I’ve done the long distance dating thing in the past, but I’m not likely to try it again. Far too many things go wrong, miscommunication is quite easy, not to mention a lot of frustration at every parting. I came to the conclusion that there is no substitute for actual time spent together and that Skype, phone and texting were a poor substitute for the real thing. This isn’t to denigrate those who succeed at it, it’s just to say it’s not for everyone and that people who try it should have their eyes wide open.

    Regarding notice, I’m usually flexible regarding initiating arrangements. Maybe I already have plans, maybe I don’t. But biggest peeve is when the other party cancels with little to no notice. One day notice is tolerable, things happen and there should be an immediate offer to reschedule. If I’m the one canceling, I make the offer; if she’s the one canceling, she should want to reschedule. No offer to reschedule on her part implies lack of interest so I’ll move on. There really is no excuse short of an emergency for shorter cancellation notice than that.

    Perhaps the girl in the post could have said, since I haven’t heard confirmation from you, I made other plans for that day. And the guy might have said okay we’ll try again next time I’m in town.

  28. Tom-995241 August 29, 2014

    I have to agree with Vera-880940 on this one.

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