Blame should be spread evenly when it comes to romance

SINGLE FILE

August 28, 1994|By SUSAN DIETZ | SUSAN DIETZ,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I had to write to you out of frustration and indignation at the preposterous notion that men have a fear of assertive women. This is simply a rationalization by women for their lack of success in dating.

Think about it. If a woman's relationships don't last long or if she doesn't get asked out much, she says that men fear assertive women. In one fell swoop she's patted herself on the back for being strong and independent, criticized men for a lack of maturity and shifted the cause of her failure to him. It's a lot easier to bash men than to examine herself.

It works the same way when women say men fear commitment. $$ Women seem to feel that when they want something, it's always automatically the appropriate time and if a man's feelings differ in any way, he must be wrong.

My point? Stop blaming men every time you women are not happy. Accepting your share of the responsibility is part of the equality you claim you want so much.

A: Dating problems do relate to both sexes, but an angry mind-set does nothing to solve them. It just heats up the problem and causes lots of men -- and women -- to stop socializing at all. It's true that both sexes have fears about commitment. Equally sad but true is some men's discomfort in the presence of an assertive woman -- and some women's preference for weak men. If blame is the point, both men and women merit their share. But blame gets us nowhere. Each of us needs to work out our anger at the other sex outside of our dating lives; we also need to be receptive and friendly to the other sex. If that's not possible, stay home.

Q: I'm in the midst of ending a long-term relationship, and at the same time I am very interested in a fellow worker.

known this new man on a casual, professional basis for the nearly six months I've been at this job. Everything about him attracts me: his looks, his sense of humor and intelligence, and what I can glean from his social and family relationships. We seem to have lots in common and from what I can tell, we see things in similar ways.

However, I'm aware that I rushed into the last relationship and am leery of doing the same with this new one. I recently told my new crush that I'm breaking up with someone. He seems to be interested but I don't want to scare him off by pursuing him, and then there's the fact that if our relationship went sour, we would both be uncomfortable at work. What should I do?

A: Move like a snail. And poke your head out of your shell cautiously. Workplace attractions are ticking time bombs that can do lots of damage if mishandled. Use what you've learned about rushing relationships by holding yourself back from this man. Show him friendliness and warmth, but at the same time be professional and maintain discretion. The challenge is to keep the job and escalate his interest at the same time. But remember, this is a team effort.

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