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Today’s essay comes from “His Take” contributor, Dennis Hong, who writes about relationships and other topics at Musings on Life and Love.
He does say and do all the right things when we’re together, and has expressed genuine interest and enjoyment of my company; I get the feeling that he really likes me, but is this enough? Are those moments worth waiting for if I feel so utterly isolated and lonely when I don’t see or hear from him for days a time? Am I being irrational? Or are there some truths to my fears? — Playing Doctor
First off, it’s not a big deal if he doesn’t call or text every day, especially if you’ve only been dating for six weeks. As for his schedule, I have close ties to several doctors (or maybe Wendy somehow knew this, and that’s why she gave me this letter, in which case… umm, excuse me…. WENDY, STOP PEERING INTO MY SOULl!!!), so I hit them up for their thoughts on your situation. I figured some first-person insight might be more helpful than random speculations from my rear end. The overwhelming consensus was that he’s just not that into you. Here are some quotes from my doctorly peeps:
“Oh, he’s totally using work as an excuse. There’s no such thing as not knowing your schedule. It’s not like they can just make you come in whenever they want. Even when you’re on call, they still tell you beforehand when you’re going to be on call. Not knowing when he has time off is ridiculous.”
“Residents are some of the busiest people you’ll ever meet, but I still see them wooing the women they’re interested in. If they like someone, they’ll make the time. Sure, their schedules are hectic, and they’re on call all the time. But even then, they say, ‘Maybe we can just hang out until I get called in?'”
“Haha, yeah. I used to say that to [name redacted]. She always wanted to hang out, but I found her kind of annoying sometimes. Whenever I didn’t feel like seeing her, I’d tell her that I was super busy and didn’t know my schedule.”
“Oh, and who doesn’t have time to send a 30-second text or make a quick call?”
If four out of four doctor-recommended insights still haven’t convinced you, this page will give you an idea of how busy he really might be, depending on what specialty he is. Another possibility is that he has his own private practice, and because he’s just the most awesomely compassionate doctor in the world, he really is making himself available to his patients 168 hours/week. But if that’s the case, it’s not that he’s busy. It’s that he’s 1) choosing to be busy and not leaving room in his life for you, and 2) kinda setting the bar at a ridiculous standard for the medical profession, don’t you think? The bottom line is, “work” is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for the relationship flake. And all the signs here point to you getting played.
For argument’s sake, let’s take him 100% at his word. What then? Well, as you’ve already realized, that means you have to compromise. But here’s the problem: compromise has to work both ways. And if he won’t budge, that becomes the brunt of the issue: not how busy he is, but how unwilling he is to acknowledge your concerns. And once you hand the reins of the relationship over to him and say, “Have at it, I’m just along for the ride,” then he will never have any reason to compromise for you.
My recommendation? Draw the line now. Decide for yourself what concessions you’re willing to make and what concessions seem reasonable to ask of him. If he actually likes you, he’ll bend. If not, then at least you’ll know it’s time to MOA, because if he’s not willing to compromise even a little (which, unfortunately, it already sounds like he won’t), there’s no way you will ever establish a healthy, two-way relationship. Just remember to eject while it’s still relatively painless.
Dennis Hong is a teacher of juvenile delinquents, freelance comedy writer, group blog overlord, and internet entrepreneur. His personal mantra is: “Always stay positive in life (except when taking a drug or STD test)!” You can read more of his musings on life and love here.