I am a quiet person and am going out with a guy who talks nonstop. He always talks about himself. On our last phone conversation, I actually timed the amount of time he talked. He talked for 53 minutes straight, without stopping. I think if I had hung up the phone, he would not have even realized it.
I am 21 years old and new to dating. This is the second boy that I went out with. I am originally from out of town and have very few connections to people. So when my landlady suggested this boy and said that he is interested, I got excited and jumped at the opportunity. We have been dating for four months and I think we have a lot in common. He keeps bringing up that one day we will get married.
I am worried that maybe he thinks he is “all that.” My parents never met him, but they told me over the phone that I should not go out with him anymore, that he is self-centered.
I discussed it with my landlady and she thinks that I should continue to date him, and that there is no other boy like him who would go out with me. And she also told me that it won’t pay for her to invest any more time in me, since I am throwing away a good boy.
In a way, she is right. Most boys want local girls from fancy homes, and that is not how my family is. Also, I see how many single girls much older than me have a hard time getting dates, and I am scared.
Should I continue to go out with him and try to not let it bother me, or take the chance that I won’t get another date for a long time?
By Baila Sebrow
There is nothing I find more repulsive than a person who uses an unmarried girl’s or boy’s vulnerable situation for personal gain. The way that the current shidduch system is set up, people who fancy themselves to possess power of any sort will use that as leverage. And some, even if they only dabble in shidduchim, will “take it to the bank.” Your landlady is not the exception when it comes to this method of emotional blackmail.
To be fair, yes, she did a nice thing by introducing you to a boy. She took notice of the fact that you had been dateless and at age 21 had thus far only been on one date. It was also within her rights and perhaps even her responsibility to be a sounding board for you. After all, your parents live out of town and she was gracious enough to take you under her wing. There would have been nothing wrong had she attempted to look into this relationship and find a way of making it work for both of you.
But that is not how she played it out. This woman flung your less affluent status in your face and threatened to not set you up again. She stepped way out of line and crossed unfair boundaries. This woman shamelessly demonstrated abuse of power. I would advise you that at this point, other than being your landlady, she is to have no role in any of your shidduch decisions. Her bad advice and condescending attitude should earn this woman an eviction from your private life. Pay your rent, and that is where your relationship with this woman should begin and end.
That said, we will now focus on the guy you are dating and the relationship you are in. Aside from the obvious physical distinctions, men communicate differently than women. When guys get together with their male friends, they rarely talk about their feelings and how it relates to their lives. Although there are exceptions here and there, their associations are primarily occupied with a focus on goals and activities.
So, when dating women whom they feel comfortable with, many guys report that for the first time in their lives they are able to open up about themselves and can talk endlessly. This is especially common in guys who come from backgrounds where they never had any female friends. Being with someone who puts them at ease makes it easier for them to unleash the talkative side of their nature. As a shadchan, I have spoken to guys who expressed concern that they might be monopolizing conversations, especially in the early stages of a dating relationship.
I understand that his endless chatter is going beyond your comfort level. Being on the quiet side, you are likely content to exchange a few sentences while on a date as a means of conversation. There are many happy marriages where the couples, while communicating, do not talk all that much. It is possible that you were raised in such a home, or maybe envisioned that sort of relationship for yourself.
On the other hand, there is a possibility that his incessant talking indicates a serious issue. Talking too much is not necessarily a major problem in itself, unless he is talking to you, rather than with you. My concern would be if he never asks you any questions at all during your conversations, either while on dates or on the phone. An additional annoyance would be if he possesses the habit of interrupting you when you do speak.
You express fear that he thinks he is “all that,” and your parents assume he may be self-centered. If that is the case, there are many symptoms of such a personality. One of the warning signs would be if he believes himself to always be in the right and claims to never make any mistakes. That would follow with a belief that whatever goes wrong in his life is a result of another force. Another red flag would be if he keeps praising himself or consistently alluding to his accomplishments.
I am curious as to how he relates to you in person. Does he seem to care about where you want to go on dates? If he chooses a particular place, a chivalrous guy would ask his date if she is OK with that option and offer an alternative if she has another preference.
Is it possible that because you are a quiet person, when he inquires as to how you are or how your day has been your response is a one-word answer such as “good” or “OK”? If so, then that explains his nonstop talking. It seems that he is not bothered by your silence. He might even find it soothing. It also sounds like you are a good listener, and he might enjoy that.
Sometimes people tend to talk a lot while they are with a quiet person, just to fill the dead-air silence. He may not want to end the conversation, so it is possible that he keeps on talking just to extend the time he gets to spend with you.
I understand your parents’ view of the situation. They do not live close by and have never met him. So the safest route in their predicament is advising you to break up with this guy. Being that you are still young, they may think, “Why bother to figure all this out?” and that it is much easier to just break up with him and find someone else.
However, I feel that it would be in your best interests to look into this situation further. You cannot do this alone. Reach out to a professional, such as a therapist with expertise in dealing with interpersonal relationships, especially dating. She will help you understand yourself and how you come across to others. You will, furthermore, learn how to examine and recognize whether the relationship you are in is a healthy one. If this guy really cares about you, it would also be beneficial to ask him to join you. Nowadays, many frum couples go to therapy sessions while still dating.
If you continue to date this guy, I recommend that if you really want to talk a little more while with him, try to interject and see if he quiets down and listens to what you are saying. He might surprise you and reverse the roles a bit. Or, if you would rather have more quiet time, you can gently tell him that he talks too much. But do it in a joking kind of way. Using healthy humor is positive in all relationships.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. v
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