Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] I want his time and attention, but he only wants something physical

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer
[Two Pronged] I want his time and attention, but he only wants something physical
'When I stop contacting him, he hints at being interested in me again'

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Doc Margie and Mr. Baer:

I hope all is well.  This is the third letter I am writing you about my friend (with benefits). (Read part 1 here and part 2 here.)

I recently got a chat message from him. He said we could still schedule a meeting if I still wanted to. I wonder why he contacted me all of a sudden?

When I stop contacting him, he hints at being interested in me again.

I still want him but I know that he just wants a purely physical thing. What is difficult is I crave for his time and attention. 

We haven’t seen each other yet. I didn’t reply to his message because I want to be careful this time, Doc.

Thank you for answering. Stay safe and dry!



Dear Bella,

It seems that the situation is unchanged: Joe wants a strictly FWB relationship at the pace of his choosing; you want more but do not have the leverage to change his mind.

It would be nice if he were willing to sit down and discuss how you both can compromise, given your differing objectives, and even agree on an FWB contract that satisfies both of you. That way the uncertainties would be removed and your anxieties would diminish, if not disappear. However, Joe seems more interested in dictating the terms of your relationship unilaterally and having an FB on tap whenever he wishes.

Such is life when one partner is keener than the other. The less keen one has the upper hand and the chances of changing their mind is slim to non-existent. Unless you are prepared to tolerate the status quo indefinitely, you either dial down your expectations and adopt Joe’s nonchalant attitude to occasional meetings at his whim or you call it a day and seek a new partner who is more on your wavelength.

The world has many such to offer, via Bumble or other means, and there is a good chance you will be successful and achieve a happier outcome than with Joe.

Best of luck,
JAF Baer

Dear Bella:

Thank you very much for your letter.   

Since Mr. Baer has given what I feel is a spot-on analysis of your current situation, I hope you will not mind my focusing on something else, which I feel is just as important as whether you should contact him or not.  

However, before I do, allow me please to say something not allowed in therapy but certainly welcomed in advice columns: a clear directive. It is best if you do not contact Joe again. You obviously want different things and even if you convince yourself that you can abide by his expectations, I doubt your relationship will work. Your disappointment in him, among other things, will keep it from blossoming into what could have been its full potential.

Mr. Baer has shared several reasons Joe is not the guy for you. I hope you will not mind if I share several reasons you may not be the right gal for him. I also hope you know this is not a criticism in any way. We cannot be all things to all people. Hells bells, we cannot be all things to even just one person. But it is a good idea not to take on a person who cannot or will not supply what we need.

For example: Joe. It was clear from the start that what he wanted was a no-strings attached relationship. Even his latest message to you, that you could still schedule a meeting if you still wanted to, makes that very clear. Two words particularly jump out: still and you.

As in: you can “still meet” despite all that’s happened: his canceling several meetings, his not getting in touch, etc. In other words, you know what you’re getting into and if, despite all that, you still see him, there is no legitimate reason for you to complain should he behave the way he always has. You have been given due warning.

He ends his message with the phrase “if you want to.” You, not anybody else, not even him. The onus is on you. If YOU want to, not anybody else. If you WANT to, of your own free will, no coercion, or even seduction, involved.  

Joe did not lead you up the garden path. You know where he stands. “You want it? Fine, Let’s get it on.  You don’t want it? That’s fine too.”

You also know how important you are to him in this relationship: practically nil.

There is no shame in not being important in someone’s life, Bella. The only difficulty is if one continues to stay in such a relationship when one clearly wants another kind. 

One thing positive for Joe: his communication skills are excellent.  

Your communication skills, however, will not be as excellent if you continue to see him. By doing so, you are giving him the message that yes, you are fine with a relationship where only sex, and not necessarily a relationship, is involved…which is clearly not what you want.

I hope this will encourage you not to see him again, leaving you more time, energy, and optimism to look for other options when using your dating app. 

All the best,
MG Holmes


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