Why Isn't He Making Any Effort?



I'm in my mid 50's and last year my husband left me for another woman after 13 years together. It was a terrible shock as I had no warning and didn't know he'd been having an affair. I had to leave the country we were living in and return to my home country. I've been back for 8 months and am feeling much better. I've reconnected with some old friends and I'm over the worst of the grief. I will be getting divorced this year.

We are in lockdown here but people still exercise outdoors. Two weeks ago I was walking through a park that's attached to a beach, when I saw a man sitting on a brick fence looking out at the ocean. I recognised him as someone I had known years ago, when he and my husband played the same sport. At that time, this guy was married with kids and lived way out in the suburbs. I approached him and he remembered me, and said "I thought you were living overseas?" I explained that my husband is with another woman so I'd had to return. This guy and my husband are still facebook friends and occasionally communicate regarding their shared interest in a particular sport. My ex has never mentioned on social media that he and I are no longer together, so this guy didn't know.


He told me that he divorced 4 years ago and now lives alone by the beach in this hip suburb. A big change from when I knew him. His kids are adults now. He said he'd had a relationship for a couple of years but that ended recently. He seemed very happy to see me and we stood talking for about an hour. I had to leave as it was getting dark and I had to get the bus. He asked for my phone number and I gave it to him. The next morning he sent me an invitation to join WhatsApp, which I'd never been on. I did so, and he sent me a comedy video about Corona Virus. We messaged back and forth about general things.

Since then, I've messaged him a few times, with photos of interesting things I've seen on my walks. He always replies immediately in a friendly way, and comments on my photos with interesting observations. But that's it. The conversation doesn't go any further and he never initiates contact. I let three or four days go by to see if he will message me but he doesn't. I really like this guy and I thought there was a spark between us when we met. He was so quick to contact me the next morning, I thought it was going to lead to something, but it doesn't look that way now. What do you think? Where we live, we are allowed to have up to 2 visitors to our home, this was announced a few days ago. I want to invite him to come over for a drink on the balcony - I have a roommate, and I certainly wouldn't be thinking of anything sexual. However, I'd like the chance to see if it might eventually go in that direction. But if he never initiates contact with me, am I wasting my time? Does that mean he doesn't see me that way? I thought he did, but I could be wrong.


Thank you!

First, I hope you're weathering this uncertain time well and staying safe and healthy.

Now for this guy...

Let's first acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though your city is allowing people to have visitors, that doesn't mean everybody is comfortable interacting with others. As I've mentioned before, I don't think things are going to revert to what they were like before the world came to a literal close. The fear of contracting this virus has been a legitimately traumatizing experience for many. For all you know, he's immuno-compromised or otherwise at risk. His hesitancy to connect could be health related.

Then, of course, there's the whole Guy Code thing. He might feel it's inappropriate to romantically engage a woman who is the ex of someone he knows, even casually. I'm sure you acknowledge the possible awkwardness that could arise should you and this guy start dating. Even if he and your ex are only connected through a sport and infrequently comment on their Facebook posts, there's still a pre-existing relationship that he needs to consider.

Another possibility? He might just not be looking for a relationship right now. Maybe he's enjoying his independence and wants to be cautious. I have a friend who has been divorced for almost two years. He's moving at a snail's pace in regards to dating because he doesn't want to lose his independence.


And, of course, he might not be interested in you in that way. That's possible, but I don't think that's the case. In my experience, men this age don't typically initiate any kind of platonic connection with a woman the way this guy has. I do think there's something there, but something is holding him back. What that is, I can't say.

The advice I have is to understand that right now, nothing is "normal." We can't hold anyone to any expectations because there's so much uncertainty. Give it a couple of months, keep the channels of communication open, then invite him over for a drink. Just make sure to pay attention to the effort he's making. If you are the one always initiating contact, ask yourself if you want to be with someone who lets you do all the heavy lifting. If he's not checking in here and there, he's either in it for the attention or doesn't want to mislead you.

You might want to take a step back for now, just for a couple of weeks, to see if he reaches out. Don't let him get too comfortable with the idea of you being doing all the work. I hope he contacts you.

Good luck!

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