What Is He Thinking?

Dear Karen,

I’ve just started dating a man I’m very excited about.  We don’t live near each other – we met skiing, and see each other when we’re both there on the weekends.  We are getting pretty serious (at least, it feels like it, and I sure hope so!).  Here’s my question: he just let me know that he may go out west to ski this coming weekend, and because of our schedules, that means we won’t be able to see each other for at least a month.  Is he testing me?  Is he trying to figure out how much I care about him by how upset I might get?  Is he hinting about my going on the trip with him?  I can’t figure out what he’s thinking! – Hillary

Dear Hillary,

I love this question – what an opportunity to share some profound, yet very basic, realities about men.

First of all, how delightful that you’re enjoying the way your connection with him is unfolding – good for you!  It’s a fun and exhilarating part of the journey.

And, nerve-wracking.

Almost simultaneously.

The first thing we must talk about here is the fact that men do not approach things like we do.  Please do not look at men as though they are like women (or worse, should be like women), and are just trying to torture us by behaving in ways that we don’t appreciate.

Keep this handy – you will need it:

women = complex; multi-tracking – able to juggle many things simultaneoulsy, each requiring different levels of attention and care.

men = simple; mono-tracking – intense focus on one thing to the exclusion of all else on the planet, until it has been solved, fixed (or killed), and then they move on to the next thing (that will take up all their attention).

I will virtually guarantee you that this man – the one you think may be testing you, or trying to get you to express how much you care, or is hinting about having you join him on a trip – is doing none of the above.

If he said he was thinking of going out west to ski before the season’s over, it means he got an inspired idea to go for a last hurrah before it’s done.  And no, he’s not calculating what that means as far as how many more weekends it will be before he will see you again.  There are no synapses happening in his brain linking the idea to go skiing out west with not being able to see you for a long time.  They have no relationship to each other.

That is almost incomprehensible to most women!

Also, I don’t know this particular man, so I can’t say this is true, but it’s very likely that if he wanted to have you join him on this trip, he’d come out and suggest it.

And please don’t cause yourself pain by making that mean anything awful.  It could be he’s not yet in the zone of including you in his plans – and if you just started dating, that sounds quite appropriate, frankly.  It could also be that he is just not seeing beyond his own excitement at his great adventure.

He might even get back and say something like:

“Boy, it was so awesome – I wish you’d been there with me!”

To which you might want to reply:

“It sounds like an amazing experience…maybe next time we’ll go together!”

(Note: only if you can say that and not immediately look for his agreement on your fabulous suggestion – think of it more like a “seed-planting”).

Now that we’ve covered the basic stuff about how you think vs. how he thinks (including how far into the future women tend to look vs. the more immediate focus for most men), let’s talk about this “testing” part of your question.

You will both test each other, and it’s just something to expect.  As you enter into more vulnerable stages of connection, old demons will kick in to “help” keep you safe from being hurt.  These little rascals are not warm and fuzzy – they’re more anti-social than that, and their job is to help keep some distance between you and the possible source of pain.

Your best plan is to stay present and connected to what is, and keep your heart open, loving and compassionate for both of you – to the best of your ability, as consistently as possible – and steer clear of the urge to either live in the past (“I’ve been badly hurt before”) or in the future (“What if this doesn’t work out?”).  Your relationship – wherever it goes, and whatever role it is ultimately meant to have in your life – is unfolding in the current moment.  That is where you have your power of creation.  Let this relationship be an expression of your best self.  This is a perfect vehicle to unleash that part of you!

Until next month, may you experience the relationship you have always dreamed of, and as always, if there is any way I may be of service on your journey, please let me know.