Not at his beck and call

Dear Annie: I was widowed two years ago. I joined a group last year that gets out and does things together. About 10 months ago, I started dating one of the guys in the group. We are both in our 60s. In the beginning, he called and asked me to dinner and other activities. Now, when I am running errands and he calls, he asks, “Are you going to stop by?” The other day, I got a text message asking whether I would be his date in four hours for dinner. Yesterday I went to church and stopped by the grocery. He called as I was returning home and said I could have called him to go to lunch. I tried explaining that I had not had lunch yet and had frozen food in the car, but he didn’t seem to listen, because he repeated that I should have called him and asked him to meet me for lunch. I have bought numerous tickets for concerts and other events, which he seemed to enjoy.

Am I being too old-fashioned to expect him to take the lead for some dates or call more than four hours before a dinner date? I have tried more than once to tell him that his lack of planning makes me feel as if he is taking me for granted. His response was, “What do I know? I am just a dumb man.” I now go ahead and make my own plans for the following day, thinking he may take the hint that I am not sitting around idly waiting all the time.

He is a nice guy and says he loves me, but I feel that if he really wanted to be with me, he would invite me like a date. – Underbooked

Dear Underbooked: Time to let this man know that you’re not his on-call girlfriend, that you have a life outside of the relationship and that you can’t always drop everything to go see him at the last minute. You’ve told him as much with words; now keep saying it with your actions. Continue to make your own plans, and don’t change them for him. (This doesn’t have to be rigid or absolute. It’s just a general rule.) If he cares to date you, he’ll care to start getting in your datebook, at least a couple of days in advance. I have a feeling that by your acting instructively, this “dumb man” (an act I don’t buy, by the by) will learn very quickly.

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