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From Molasses to Momentum

Some relationships go from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, some take ... a lot longer. But how do you get a relationship to accelerate without throwing things off the road? The 4-Way panel weighs in.

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Dear 4-Way,

I’ve recently met someone of interest, but I swear he is Mr. Molasses. He takes a very long time to return calls or initiate something. But when we are together, we have a great time—conversation is great, we are attracted to each other, and there is definite interest in continuing to do things together. However, it’s been more than two months that we’ve been going on dates, and we are still in the kiss goodnight and see you next time phase. We speak or email once or twice per week, but there is no momentum to get to the next phase … whatever that may be with us. On the one hand, he seems like definite relationship potential, but on the other hand, I’m not sure if I should just consider him eternally casual and not serious. Are we just getting slower to action in our early forties, or should I mix it up and start seeing other people? —AG, Birmingham, Alabama

The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox

To quote the great voice on high, Chaka Khan, I feel for you! I detest those relationships where everything is perfect when you’re around each other, yet you dread the end of the date so much you have a pit in your stomach knowing the rerun from last week will happen again this week. How are you ending your dates anyway? Are you kissing him or is he kissing you? Take some control of the situation. Maybe he’s shy. Maybe he doesn’t know what to do or know what you want. Show him! Don’t freak him out by telling him you want to knit baby booties and settle down on a moose farm in Montana, just let him know you’re happy with him and wouldn’t mind taking it a little further. See how he reacts.

Look at him like he’s your car. When he’s in neutral, he’s not really serving much of a purpose. But if you grab the gear shift and move it in the right direction, it treats you oh-so-well and gets you exactly where you need to go. Just don’t forget that there are new models rolling off the assembly line every day. If you feel like he’s ready for a trade in, go shopping.

The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

I’ve dated Mr. Molasses before and the whole experience plunged me smack dab into a big bottle of Grey Goose. On one hand, I’d like to say that good things take time, be patient. But on the other (smarter) hand, I think that the beginning of a relationship is all about momentum. And in that department, you’ve got nothin’.

But you can be smarter than I was, AG. You can solve the mystery right now. The reason I was drowning in vodka is because I never had the balls to ask my guy what was going on. Somewhere along the way, I’d come to believe (and maybe you have too?) that asking would scare him away and send him running for the hills and out of my life. And it just might. But screw that, you deserve to know. Let go of your fear and ask. If words aren’t your forte, try your hands. Maybe try them down his pants. Or under his shirt. Or on his ass. You’re already kissing goodnight, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s not 1956. Somebody’s gotta make a move here, and from what you’ve described, he isn’t just in it for the sex. (Unless you’re having a quickie on the front porch after you kiss good night and failed to mention it.) He seems like he might have too much of a conscience to sleep with you just for sport.

The only thing I’m wondering is why you haven’t taken any action yet. Are you scared to hear the truth? Think about this: do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? Who isn’t dying to take things to the next level? No matter how much you like him, that’s no fun and you deserve more. As the people at Publisher’s Clearing House say, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” It’s time to play, AG. Take control right now so you can move on, with him or without him.

The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy

Well, I’m just guessing that if you’ve dubbed this guy, “Mr. Molasses,” it’s because he’s moving too slowly for you—unless I’ve misinterpreted this and you’ve named him Mr. Molasses because he’s sticky and sweet. If that’s the case, then disregard the ensuing advice and enjoy.

As brilliant as we 4-Wayers are (I like to think so anyway), we aren’t mind readers and don’t know what this guy is thinking. I don’t know of a 4-Way soothsayer group, but if there is one, definitely let them know and tell them we have some questions for them ourselves. Since you probably don’t know either, here’s the solution. It’s very simple—I didn’t say easy, but simple. Talk to him. Ask him where he wants your relationship to go. Tell him where you’re coming from. Tell him you feel things are leveling off, getting stagnant, and not going anywhere. You want to take it to the next level. You like him and want to be more serious, less casual. You feel you two have reached the point where you need to know what’s next.

He may wonder what that means. It means you want more contact during the week. You won’t settle for too much lag time in responding to your calls and emails. You want to get more physical with him. This part should get him the most interested, so save it for last. Sex sells. My gut is that he’s not interested in taking this any further. His inaction in calling you, romancing you, and such are pretty good indicators. If this is the case, then break it off and start seeing other people. You’re in your forties—not your eighties—and things are not supposed to move this slowly.

Let him pour that molasses on some early bird specials while you fly away.

The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer

If you’re at a restaurant and order a meal that includes a soup, sandwich, and a dessert, and you only get a glass of water and some crackers, what do you do? You check to make sure you put your order in correctly and then you ask for what you ordered. I’m wondering if you knew what you wanted, but forgot to place your order. Or maybe there is a backlog of orders in the kitchen.

Have you spoken with the guy about moving forward? And why is all the impetus on him to move it forward? Why can’t you kiss him and step up the momentum? I’m also wondering what qualifies him as relationship potential. Is it his lack of initiative? It’s great that you talk well and that there’s an attraction there, but if neither of you has even ventured toward more after two months, then this sounds more like friendship material than anything else.

The other possibility is that he’s already seeing someone and can’t feed the both of you. But you won’t know that unless you begin the conversation. So I’d start by placing your order and making a move, maybe even a bold move. Heck, skip the main course, and go right to the dessert with him. You know, feed him something sweet, with a cherry on top. If he doesn’t go for it, maybe he’s not a cherry lovin’ guy—as in, he’s gay. If not, you should be hungry enough by now to look around at some of the other daily specials that may whet your appetite.

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