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Parallax - Advice

November 18, 2002

Moments of Need

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In the mid-60s, the Rolling Stones sang, 'You can't always get what you want...' and millions of people got it. With the band midway through their latest world tour, perhaps we should send this week's letter writers to a Stones concert so they can get the message. Or we could just get them to join our resident love gurus as they chorus, '...but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.'

Super attention.
Working it out.
 Date: 11/18/02

Psych 101.
A degree of jealousy.
 Date: 11/18/02

She's the one.
The one for what?
 Date: 11/18/02

More from last week...

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Dear Conversely,

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My supervisor at work seems interested in me. I know this because he makes personal comments, like asking me if I am in love or involved with anyone or telling me he likes my hair. At first I shrugged them off, but yesterday I asked him if he had a crush on me. He said he didn't; he said he saw me as a sister whom he really admired. I thought that was the end of the topic, but this morning he came right out and said he was attracted to me. We're both in our forties and single. He is a widower and I'm divorced: we both have young children. We work in the education field and aren't in jeopardy of losing our jobs, whether the relationship goes ahead...or doesn't. How should I take things from here? I am attracted to him, as are many other women. We have a lot in common. He is one of the kindest people I've ever met, and I really want to have him as a close friend. How should I respond if I want to develop the relationship slowly?

Her view:

Dear Admired,

Now this one requires hours and hours of research. You might enjoy a trip to the library and have a read of a few meta-analyses on communication tactics in dating.

How does one move things slowly when one has not yet started dating? Vexing. Let us see. Very simply, you should state, 'I like you and would like to get involved but would prefer we take things slowly.' No big magic there—just a simple request at the start of a potential relationship.

I doubt he will show up with a ring on your first date so don't fret. It is really unobjectionable, frankly. And you state there is really no downside. So dip a toe in the water, see what you think and then decide.

You've got yourself less of a pressure cooker than you think. Remember, so far your big clue is that he finds you attractive. He hardly called you his soul mate. Lighten up.

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His view:

Dear Admired,

You sound like you'd like to keep that cake all for yourself, but you don't want to eat it just yet. Yes. In your ideal scenario, Mr. Supervisor swings right into your relationship tempo, ignores all the other potential dance partners, and patiently waits for you to decide what you want and when you want it.

It could work...if you really have hypnotized him beyond hope...if he really has eyes for no one else but you. How confident are you feeling?

If the answer is, 'Not a lot,' I'd suggest you make a choice between keeping him as a friend or going for a more romantic entanglement. Assuming you seek the latter, you may have to take it a bit less slowly than you would if you were the last woman on earth.

The one strategy that will certainly fail is to not make up your mind. He already showed his cards. If you don't show yours, he'll probably move on.

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