I know it’s biblical and important for guys to initiate and take the lead when it comes to dating and relationships, including DTRs (Defining The Relationship), in order to clarify intentions. The issue I’ve been having is this: How does a guy give clarity when a girl is obviously into him and in his circle of friends (and he’s attracted to her a little), but with marriage as the ultimate aim, he believes that they aren’t a great match and doesn’t want to pursue a relationship?
How does he give clarity in this situation? Is a DTR needed here or just simply trying to avoid her in order not to lead her on or get her hopes up?
It seems like a DTR is a no-brainer after a few dates, but what about before a date has even taken place? Is it sufficient to just not ask her out?
I’m going to trust that you have good reasons for believing that the two of you are not a good match for marriage, but it’s worth mentioning that maybe all the evidence isn’t in yet. I wish I knew what has led you to that conclusion.
Are you convinced that there’s not even a seed that could grow into something greater? Why do you think you have a little attraction for her? A “little” attraction is how many good marriages start, and some start with none! I’m not suggesting you pursue her if it’s not in your heart. But I am at least recommending that you give it a thorough think-through and pray-through before reaching a final conclusion.
At least do this exercise: Try to imagine the attention she’s giving you shifting to someone else. What if you just fell off her radar, and she lost all interest. Would you miss her? If another guy came and swept her off her feet, how would your heart handle that?
If you feel a little uneasiness in your gut when you imagine that, ask yourself why.
It’s fine to think you wouldn’t make a great match, but make sure that what you think is marriage “match” criteria is the right criteria. (For more about this, read my article "How do I know whether she's the person I am to marry?") It wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask trusted friends if they agree that she’s not a good match, and get their opinions on why or why not. Those conversations would be worth having, if only to help reassure you that you’re drawing the right conclusion.
We’ll assume then that you’ve made your mind up, and for all the right reasons she isn’t a good match. From there it isn’t too complicated.
First, though, you can bet she’s picked up on that little attraction you have for her, which might be little to you, but when emotions are involved, it’s a relative term. That little attraction you have for her could be providing at least some fuel for her feelings toward you and isn’t helping your cause any.
It might also be driving some of your behavior around her, which is being interpreted by her (and possibly others) as interest. My first advice is for you to take note about your own signals that you could be sending without being aware of them.
When you’re in mixed company with her, think about how you’re relating to her in comparison to other girls in the room (and guys, too). If she’s getting more time and attention than anyone else, then I can’t blame her for thinking that you think she’s a little more special than the others.
There’s no need to be hurtful by ignoring her, but make sure that your words and actions aren’t giving the wrong impressions. Be “above reproach” in the flirt department. That might be another helpful topic to add to your conversation with your trusted friends I mentioned above: Ask them if they think you’ve been sending the wrong signals. They might be surprised to discover that you’re not interested in pursuing a relationship with her.
I doubt it will have to come to this, but if it becomes clear to you that she’s under the impression that there is more to the relationship than friendship, or that she just comes out and openly pursues you, then you’ll need to let her know your heart about it. More than likely, though, a careful watch over your own behavior will be enough.
You might discover that it’s harder than you thought it would be to not treat her just a little more special than the others. If so, that is a sign that you shouldn’t ignore.
Copyright 2011 John Thomas. All rights reserved.