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Asking Him Out May Set the Tone - Relationship Advice

Updated on July 18, 2010

Dear Veronica,

I'm hoping you can give me some advice on my relationship. We are both in our 30's, my boyfriend works for a bank and I am a buyer for a large company. We met at a mutual friend's housewarming party. We had a nice conversation. The following day I asked our friend for his phone number, and I called him and asked him out. He sounded very excited that I called and immediately said yes. We had a great time. I had to go out of town on a business trip the next day but told him I would call as soon as I got back. The following week when I returned I called. Again, he sounded very anxious to hear from me. I asked if he wanted to meet at a local bar and he agreed. He dropped what he was doing and rushed right out to see me.

Well that was 3 weeks ago and we've gotten together a bunch of times since, but every one of those times involved me calling him and asking him out. 

Veronica I'm confused. Any other time I would say he wasn't interested. I'm 36 and old enough to know when a guy isn't that into me. But that just doesn't feel like the case this time. Whenever I call he sounds excited. If I say lets meet right now, he totally agrees. One of the times we were out I asked to come to his apartment with him with no notice and he happily agreed. I looked around for photos or things of another woman and there was nothing. I asked him if he was seeing anyone else and he said no. 

Everything between us is great. The only problem is I have to instigate everything. I don't understand what's going on. I don't want to be chasing after him but he's very available to me. Can you please tell me what the hell is going on? Am I delusional?


Dear Crystal,

You aren't delusional. You're the aggressor. 

When a woman asks a man out, she sets a certain tone. She lets him know that traditional roles don't necessarily apply to her. 

There are certain traditional roles men and women follow when dating. You know. There are hunters, and there are nesters. He asks her out. He holds the car door open for her. He sends her flowers. 

This is a subject that rubs a lot of people wrong. And I'm not going to get into the whole equality issue. I'm going to stay focused on your issue, and what's going on with your guy.

The possibility of several different outcomes existed at the beginning. Sometimes when a woman makes that first move and breaks that stereotypical dating role, the guy rejects it. He wants things to be traditional, he wants to be the aggressor and he's turned off by her advances. 

Some men take it as a challenge. They step up the dominant male act. 

Sometimes the man responds with no thought about it all. He doesn't mind that she made the first move, and he's not adverse to making the second move. These guys are healthy. Balanced. You cook sometimes, they cook sometimes. they pick up the check sometimes, and if you offer to treat they have no issue. 

What happened with you is not the average response, but it happens. You made that first move, and then you reinforced your role as the aggressor when you told him you were leaving town on business, and you would call him when you returned. He accepted your dominant non-traditional role. He sounds like he's enjoying your leadership.

Crystal, there is nothing wrong with any of the combinations of traditions, roles, or full-on power exchange in romantic relationships. There really isn't. As long as it's mutual, and as long as you're both having a good time, it really is no one's business but yours. And there is nothing wrong with whatever type(s) of relationship you are comfortable in. 

Your man sounds quite into you. I don't think you have anything to worry about regarding that. I think you're just in a role reversal. 

From here there are a few different things you can do. You might want to just experience it for a while and see how you like it now that you know he's into you. You had it in you to break with tradition enough to be the one to ask him out in the first place. Who knows, maybe this is going to feel more comfortable than you know.

If you find that this doesn't feel like the kind of relationship you'd like to be in, you could try talking to him about it. But this could be a little sticky. You know that in many of my Hubs I stress communication. You have to be able to talk to your partner about things, or you're never going to have the relationship you want. But this is a very touchy thing to talk about. It's one thing for your boyfriend to be enjoying this role of following your lead. It's something else for him to have to verbalize that he has surrendered his traditional role and favors your taking control. It may not be something he's thought through. And if he has, it may not be something he's very comfortable admitting. 

You could keep it light and surface and just say to him that you would like for him to ask you out sometimes, and take charge sometimes and make the plans. He may not realize that you want that, since so far all he's seen is a certain aspect of you.

Be aware that conversations may not be honest. He may pull away or shut down if he doesn't feel comfortable with admitting he's let the roles reverse. He may deny it. Often that first contact and date sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. Once that bell is rung it's very hard to reset it. If you find that this isn't the way you want your dynamic to be with a boyfriend, you may have to accept that this relationship isn't going to work out. Next time, don't take the lead if you don't want to keep it. 


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  • profile image

    Crystal 7 years ago

    OMFG!! Veronica you totally nailed this for me. I'm floored! You are completely right. I set the tone and then reinforced it. I'm not sure what to do now though. I feel so much better knowing my instinct is right and that this guy really is as into me as I think he is. Now that I can relax about that I have to think about what I feel about this role reversal. I appreciate what you said about how he may not be receptive to a talk about this. I'll see what happens just asking him to be the caller and instigator once in a while. I'm a strong woman and I don't think I have a problem with being the aggressor here. This is just new. I asked guys out before but like you described they were able to accept that and adjust. I have never even thought about this before. Thanks for your awesome insight. Y

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    Sree1987 - thanks so much for your comment.

  • sree1987 profile image

    sree1987 7 years ago from India

    This is not just a reply for "Crystal" but a message from you to all the readers of the hub.

    I should thank you for it.

    In fact the clarity that is as crisp and clear as crystal will not let the relationship go down and it will definitely survive due to its transparency. Both boys and girls should know that to avoid break ups.

    Thanks for the hub.

    - Sree