Email led to phone calls, phone calls led to Skype, and Skype prompted you to meet in person. You planned the time and place and wondered how it would go. But meeting in person left you with more questions than answers. Now what?
In the first installment in this series, we offered suggestions for when neither of you feel motivated to keep exploring potential. Then we moved on to Scenario #2 in which he/she is motivated but you’re not. Now, on to Scenario #3.
Scenario #3: You’re motivated…he/she isn’t
When you met in person, you saw potential to keep exploring a relationship, but you picked up cues that this guy or girl isn’t so sure. What should your next steps be? Move on? Keep pursuing the relationship and risk being perceived as a stalker?
It depends. Let’s consider different contexts.
Did this person discover potential deal breakers when you met that hadn’t surfaced before? Did they clearly communicate that they don’t think they could go any further?
If that’s the case, it might be time to move on. This would be a good question to take to your parents, a mentor, a pastor or someone else who knows you well and offers trustworthy advice. That person you trust might also provide helpful perspective if the person you met pointed to any specific areas of concern (such as your employment situation, Christian maturity, family background or other issue ) as the reason they were reluctant to move forward.
But what if there were no obvious deal breakers? What if it was more along the lines of not having good chemistry together?
If that’s the case, there’s still hope. As we mentioned in the last segment, plenty of good marriages grew out of relationships that didn’t seem to have shared chemistry at the beginning. There’s still potential for love to grow, but it’s something you have to cultivate–you can’t force it.
What we’ve found over the years is that cultivation looks different for men and women. Men cultivate most effectively through respectful pursuit while women cultivate best through nurturing connections.
One of the most noble quests a man can pursue in life is to win the heart of the woman he loves. Sometimes men give up that pursuit prematurely because they detect reluctance from the woman they’re pursuing. Reluctance need not be a closed door. It might just be the kind of caution that a man needs in order to make valuable adjustments that will mold him into a better husband.
But your pursuit has to be respectful. You can’t force a woman to love you. You have to woo her. Be a gentleman. Respectfully demonstrate your interest in this woman and treat her special.
But recognize the difference between a door that’s still cracked open from one that’s been slammed shut. No woman wants to have a man banging on a shut door because he thinks she’s playing hard to get.
For more on this topic, check out: How can a marriage-minded man handle rejection from a marriage-minded lady?
While women often want to keep guys interested enough to keep moving forward, few, if any, want to feel like they “made it happen” by taking over the pursuit.
The alternative is to nurture connections. Build on the things that got you this far (e.g., shared hobbies, similar interests, etc.). Show kindness and concern. Pray for God’s best for this man. Ask him questions. Find him about his dreams. Let him know what things you respect and value in him.
This can nurture his pursuit.
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