I’m Not Being Distant, You Just Haven’t Earned My Full Attention Yet

Between building my career, bonding with my friends, and planning my next solo travel adventure, I feel like there’s barely time for me to nurture a relationship with my cat, much less a guy. But now that we’ve been on a few dates, I feel like there’s potential for us to grow into a committed couple. Don’t get it twisted, though — you still need to earn a place in my life and convince me that you’re worth carving out time from my busy schedule. If it seems like I’m acting a little distant, it’s because I am. Try not to take it personally — I just need to make sure you deserve my full attention.

  1. My life at this very moment is perfect without you. I realize that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I have a great job, awesome friends, and fulfilling hobbies. When I get a little lonely at night, I can always turn to my trusty vibrator to meet my sexual needs. You need to prove to me that my life will somehow be even better with you in it. And yes, you’re basically competing with my vibrator. Keep your game up, because it’s stiff competition.
  2. I’m just not sure if I want to deal with your BS. Look, I get it — everyone in the world has baggage. Still, at least my own personal BS is something I’m well acquainted with. To get into a serious relationship with you would mean dealing with your deep-seated issues in addition to my own, and I just don’t know if I have time for that.
  3. I’m not ready to meet your family. I know we just started dating, so we’re not even remotely at the level where it’s time to talk about meeting the parents. But, if we keep spending time together, eventually we’ll get to that point and frankly, the thought of having dinner with your folks freaks me the hell out. I can barely tolerate my own parents, so the concept of choking down meatloaf with the two old weirdos who raised you is going to take awhile for me to wrap my head around.
  4. Your friends are kind of douchey. Obviously I’m dating you and not your friends, but they did make an impression on me that one time we all hung out at the bar together — and not in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, they seem like nice guys who will always have your back, but do they really have to do their elaborate frat boy handshake high five combo every time their favorite team scores a touchdown? I’m not sure if I’m ready to deal with that on a regular basis.
  5. My alone time is non-negotiable. Even if we eventually fall head over heels in love and spend the rest of our lives together (and that’s a big “if”), I’m still going to need plenty of time to myself to reflect and recharge. Regular doses of solitude are how I stay sane, and I need to make sure that you’re going to respect my space even if we take our relationship to the next level.
  6. I’m accustomed to my own routine. Right now, I have complete freedom to eat cheese in bed, take 20-minute showers, and sleep in until noon after a rough night at the bar. If we get serious, then I’ll have to take your needs and preferences into account on a daily basis. I need to make sure you’re worth adjusting my lifestyle before I give up a whole Saturday lounging around the house to be your date to your boring company picnic.
  7. I’ve been burned in the past. I know I seem like a take no prisoners, have it all power bitch — and I am, don’t get me wrong. Still, that doesn’t mean I haven’t cried myself to sleep over a guy who screwed me over after I committed myself to him way too soon. I know it’s not fair to make you pay for another guy’s mistakes, but right now I need to guard my heart and keep you at arm’s length until I know I can trust you not to hurt me.
  8. My future is uncertain. I mean, everyone’s future is uncertain in the metaphysical sense. Tomorrow is never promised and all that. However, my life is so crazy and unpredictable right now that I could very well be backpacking through Europe next month or accepting an awesome job offer and moving cross-country. I just don’t know if I want to spend time and effort becoming emotionally invested in a relationship with you if the universe has other plans for me.
  9. You’re not my only option. I’ve been hanging out with a few other guys in between my dates with you. Since we’re still keeping things casual and haven’t discussed commitment, I’m going to keep my options open, but if we decide to take things the next level and become exclusive, I’ll have to make a conscious choice to be with you, and only you. I’ll admit that I really like you and I can see us becoming an official couple — I just need a little more time to play the field and have fun before I consider getting serious with you.
  10. I’m just doing what men have done since the beginning of time. Let’s be real — how many times have you and your friends blown off a text from a girl or avoided discussing commitment because you weren’t sure if you were ready to be tied down? It’s socially acceptable for men to act distant and avoid committed relationships, but thanks to cultural stereotypes that refuse to die, women are often perceived as perpetually clingy and emotionally needy. Newsflash — not all women are in a hurry to give their heart and soul to a guy just because he’s kind of fun to hang out with on a Friday night. So slow your roll, give me my space, and maybe you’ll eventually earn a place in my life.
Stephanie Seabrooke is a freelance writer based in Baltimore, MD. She enjoys wine, felt tip pens, and staring out of windows in a melancholy stupor. Tweet her at @StephSeabrooke