Take me out to the ball game

Q: I recently met a great girl that I’m really into. The only problem is that I work a lot and travel for work. I’ve been single for a year now almost and I told myself that I wouldn’t date because I’m too busy for work. We talk every other day or so, whenever she can message me. I’m usually too caught up with work to remember to text her. When I was home from work last month, we went out a couple times. I really liked her, she was a strong Christian like me, sweet, very smart, caring and fun. I stuck to my guns about not committing to her and wanted to just keep it casual, nothing serious. The best I could do was just come into town, take her out a few times and just have fun. She made it known to me that she was more of a relationship girl, but I knew she liked me as well, so she continued to see me. This last time after I took her out, the next day I saw her out at a restaurant with another guy and I felt a huge tinge of jealousy. I was surprised that I felt like that, I mean, I didn’t commit to her and it was an unsaid that we were both allowed to see other people. I was so distracted the entire dinner, I even spilled a huge glob of spaghetti on myself because I was staring over at her. She never once looked over at me and she had that same laugh, same happiness with that guy as she did with me. I got up a few times to go to the bathroom and gather myself. Geez, I was such an idiot, I told her I wanted to just have fun with her, yet at the same time, I wanted her to be devoted to me and no one else. I kept telling myself over and over that I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, that I was too busy with work. I told myself that over and over again while I was in the bathroom. And I continued to tell myself this again and again while I walked back to my table. I was concentrating so hard on saying that and busy staring at her that I ended up bumping into the busboy’s cart and a bunch of dishes fell off. Everybody in the restaurant looked up at me, as well as her. I was so embarrassed but I caught her glance over and smile that smile I loved about her. I tried to hurry through dinner, it was just too uncomfortable. It finally ended a lifetime later, but I did the half smile at her while I walked out the door (this time paying attention to any objects in the way). I glanced over at the guy and he was bigger, buffer and better looking than me. My ego was straight diving into the ground. I kept myself from contacting her that week I got back, nor did she call me. It killed me, I was so used to having her there when I came home and up for going out with me. She usually put in more of the effort to stay in touch, so I just stared at the phone all week, hoping she’d call. But she didn’t. I finally got the whole ordeal and her out of my head, I was a professional, I could handle it. I was working too much and I knew I couldn’t make time for a relationship. On my next break back home, I called her, hoping she’d meet up with me. She genuinely asked how I was doing and how everything was, being her usual caring, sweet self. And I asked her if she wasn’t busy the next day if she’d like to go out. She paused and then told me she was taking a weekend trip with a friend, then her voice trailed off. I knew by the way she said it, that it was with another guy. I felt my jealous streak come back and I sat there for a few seconds stunned. I told her just to call me back when she was back in town and maybe we could meet up. She did call and we did meet up, but I could tell she was distant. I noticed that lately she wasn’t texting me much anymore and it was me taking the initiative. What should I do? I’m dying here, this girl is a great catch and I kept her at a distance from me because I had other priorities. Now I can’t stand the thought of her with another guy, I mean seeing her with another guy nearly gave me a coronary. Do I abandon my ‘I’m too busy with work’ excuse and go after? Let her go? I don’t know what to do at this point.

A: Hey spaghetti spiller! Luckily you didn’t hurt yourself in that restaurant, I think I might’ve just fallen out of my chair. I would’ve taken my food to go and high tailed out of there, but you’re much more brave than I. The sting of jealousy is strong! You may have not been officially boyfriend and girlfriend, but obviously titles don’t mean you’re free from the emotional attachments that people can get. It always amazes me when people say they’re too busy with work, school, their dog, their cat, their hamster. You get the picture. Love doesn’t wait til we’re fully ready, sometimes it’ll creep its little head in the most inconvenient times. Some people choose to pursue it in the name of love, knowing life is short and you only get one chance. But there are others, like yourself, that think they can time the setup and encounter of it all. Or that if you can set up the right walls and rules, you won’t fall. Obviously, you know that’s not true. It can strike any time, and sometimes we don’t realize it until it’s too late. Your girl has obviously moved on to something more serious with someone else, that’s plain and obvious. I mean, who takes a weekend trip with just anyone. That’s a big deal. I’m sure you felt like it happened before your very eyes, but perhaps your eyes were closed. Beautiful, caring, smart young women go and go fast. And definitely, beautiful women are off the market in a heartbeat. You may be busy at work and doing well, but in the game of love, you’re far behind. You can be the comeback guy and do hurdles over bus boy carts to be with her, but realize you’re a tad behind. You’ve got to do something outrageous and beyond a doubt, let her know that you’re willing to fight for her. That means not waiting for her to message you, taking her out every possible chance you can when you’re in town, maybe even sending flowers or cards or a small gift, anything to let her know she means a lot to you and you’ll do anything for you. Because, young man, it’s game time, you’ve got to do more than get up to the plate, it’s time to get in the games, all or nothing. And, you need to examine your own purpose in trying to win her totally over. Is it because you’re jealous, is it a pride or ego thing? If you feel a tinge of any of those reasons, then take a step back. You’re going to cause more harm than good if you try to steal a base without committing to the game. All or nothing, don’t make her give up something that’s already meeting her needs to offering her something less. Who wants a chicken when they can have sushi? I wish you the best, you shot yourself in the foot, maybe you can get on your other foot and limp back into the game. It’s game time! Take me out to the ball game!

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