“How do you know if a man is interested in you, or just your body?” asked a 35 year old patient of mine recently during her therapy session. “I seem to have this problem a lot. A man expresses interest in me, ‘chases’ me, invites me out to interesting places, tells me he is growing fond of me and that he is liking me a lot, tells me how attractive I am, sends me flowers at work, calls for no reason just to talk, and generally conducts this whirlwind courtship of me. He also expresses tremendous sexual interest in me, even to the point of talking about how many children he would like us to have.”
“After I go to bed with him, his behavior toward me changes. He stops the whirlwind courtship, stops inviting me out so often, stops the flowers and all the romance, and wants to have sex every time we get together. If I tell him I need more, he gets angry and withdraws.”
“Is this normal? What can I do about it? We start out in a relationship that has promise for the future, and end up as only lovers, with very little promise for a future. Is there a way to figure out if a man is interested in me as a person, or if he is only interested in my body?”
This question is difficult not only because the woman quoted above is understandably perplexed, but also because most women want men to desire them sexually. They may want to restrict men “hitting” on them and coming on too strong, but they don’t want to discourage male desire altogether.
Men pursue women for a variety of reasons, and lust is one of them. Men are also sometimes stimulated by the game of trying to “score.” They don’t mean harm; it’s more like a sport, where there is challenge and intrigue, and where their skills are being tested. Additionally, some men have the fantasy of wanting to taste every piece of chocolate in the chocolate factory.
It should also be noted that many men who are experienced at the “chase,” don’t have effective long-range relationship skills. They, therefore, find it hard to sustain and build an intimate relationship once they find someone. They may be intimidated by the demands of being with someone, fearful of the intimacy that a relationship requires, and unskilled in knowing how to be in a relationship effectively.
You are not going to know why a man pursues you, but I have several suggestions of how to judge his intentions:
- Are you dressing in such a manner that men stare at your body?
- Does he talk to you or your body?
- Is he making a lot of sexual references?
- Is he pursuing activities and conversation that attempt to get to know you as a person?
- Does he invite you to spend a night or a weekend together very early on?
- Is there an undercurrent of sexuality you are giving (or receiving) that prevents you from “seeing” the other person clearly? Be conscious of which signals you are giving off to men, and which you are getting from them.
Most women want a man to be both interested in her and her body. Guys interested only in sex will not last very long in a non-sexual relationship.
“If men acted after marriage as they do during courtship, there would be fewer divorces and more bankruptcies.” Francis Rodman