“He wants you on his terms”

by Dating Goddess on July 2, 2008

An older, wiser gal pal and I were talking about relationships, and specifically the one I was in at the time. I was sharing that I loved, loved, loved being with my guy, but his contact between dates every 7-10 days was intermittent, and he didn’t set future dates beyond the next day. This was vexing, as I am a planner, and liked to know when I’d be seeing him so I could schedule friends at other times.

“He is in control. He calls you and sees you when he wants. It is you who asks, ‘When will I see you.’ It should be the other way around.”

She was right. I did ask the question more often, as I wanted to know at least 24 hours in advance. I’d explained to him that I’d like a few days notice, and sometimes he’d comply but mostly it was more spur of the moment.

She continued, “He wants you on his terms — when and where it works for him. While he makes a modicum of effort to appear to address your needs, he really pulls the strings.”

“Yes, he wants me on his terms. But I think we all want our relationship on our own terms. We want what we want. None of us gets 100% of what we want. That’s why compromise is so critical. If only one of you is compromising, then the power is unbalanced. One of you will feel put upon and disrespected.”

The key is to be cognizant of how much compromising each of you is making to keep it somewhat in balance. However, I’ve noticed it’s much easier to note what compromises you’ve made, as you’re less aware of the ones he’s made. When you observe his attempts at compromise, it’s important to acknowledge that you appreciate his working to find a common ground or give you what you want.

My friend pointed out that control issues can lead to abuse issues, so to watch out. I can see how that could be true. Although it was interesting to observe potentially controlling behavior in another, as my ex accused me of being controlling.

What do you think the balance is for each person to feel s/he is getting the relationship on his/her own terms? How do you know when you are compromising too much?

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to Goddess@DatingGoddess.com.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack July 3, 2008 at 3:26 am

I wonder why you don’t know why his contact is so intermittent. I’m thinking this is more a communication issue than a compromise issue. To be in a relationship at all requires compromise. I also tell my daughter (age 26) never to get in a position where you are being manipulated. Anyone who manipulates you is not really interested in being in a healthy mature adult relationship. Sometimes an element of control can add some spice if it remains mild and in that case its better to be the flame than the moth (to paraphrase Casanova I think).

Angela July 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

The relationship I am in now frustrates me in some of the same ways. He rarely makes plans. We’ve been going out for 5 months. Like this weekend is July 4th. I start making plans days ahead, so I have something to look forward to and know what I need to do to get ready for whatever, (buy food, get mosquito spray, etc.) He doesn’t want to make any plans. I finally told him if he doesn’t want to make plans with me, then I can make other plans. Then he was willing to make plans with me. Even though you like this man very much, there are other good men out there too. Either you are willing to do things on his terms or you tell him when you CAN go out and that if he cannot commit, you will make other plans. I don’t sit around waiting for someone else to decide to call me. It’s amazing how when we are not as ready to do something at the drop of HIS hat, they will come around. If not, oh well, time to move on.
I dated this one guy for about 3 months who told me he didn’t want a relationship right now. I really liked him a lot, so I kept dating him, but after 3 months I decided to start seeing others. I met a new guy and that is the one I am dating now. The old one started calling me again and I told him I had a boyfriend now, but he kept calling me. I went to his house thinking maybe I would give “us” another chance. And I realized he wasn’t as wonderful as I thought he was when I was dating him. That the guy I have now is a better guy who gives me more of what I want. It was really eye opening to go back and realize that. So it also let’s me know that if this one doesn’t work out, another will come along and I’ve learned another lesson.
I also believe that lovers should be best friends and if you don’t know why this guy only calls you every once in a while, you don’t know him that well. It’s easier to like people we don’t know that well. We don’t know all their “stuff” yet.

Loving Annie July 3, 2008 at 5:40 pm

There should be a 50/50 balance for things to be really healthy.
You’ve GOT to have the things that are seriously important to you, and the minor things you can compromise on.
But only seeing you maybe 3 or 4 times a month and refusing tpo plan in advance for the most part ? that’s not a man who is treating you with respect and care. He’s being controlling and selfish, his way or no way, really. A man who likes a woman will spend more time with her than that, no matter how busy his job, his kids, etc.
This guy isn’t choosing to make you a priority. I don’t think you have to compromise and accept that, and be basically there at his whim.
Cut off contact with this guy. You deserve better.

Janet July 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Dating Goddess “He Wants You On His Terms”…I was with someone who fits the description of your entry on this subject…. now that I know he also had someone else as well, I want to throw this out there. If it’s on his terms, I would wonder how interested he really IS. I also found out that once I got tired of it and wouldn’t see him anymore, well, by that time I think he’d built up his other relationship sufficiently. He contacted me two days after he realized I really meant it about not wanting to do things on his terms anymore to tell me we should not be in contact anymore at all. I then discovered he married her a month later. So, if it’s on his terms, find out what’s goin’ on behind the scenes… I’m not saying all situations could be like mine… just a suggestion.

elyse July 7, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Janet – aren’t you glad you were strong enough to push away … and sorry his wife didn’t see signs that he was probably less than available for her, also….

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