Ask Aunty Pam
Dear Aunty Pam,
I think I’ve met ‘the one,’ but because I’m writing to you it’s obvious, I’m waffling a little. “Ben” is in his early 40s, divorced, has one daughter who lives with his ex-wife, and is handsome, attentive and well off, financially. We met online and we’ve been going out for two months.
After the first date it was pretty clear we had ‘clicked,’ and by the end of the first week, I was a little taken aback, but delighted, when he said that as far as he was concerned, he had no interest in seeing anyone else and would love us to become exclusive. And now, after two months, he’s throwing around phrases like, “When we get married…” not ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ He’s also frequently buying me extravagant gifts. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t say if I like something if we’re window shopping, or I see something on TV. because the next time I see him, he’ll have bought and wrapped it. The first time he did that it was a vintage sapphire ring surrounded by small diamonds and set in platinum. Yes, I love it but it’s just too much.
The other thing is that I don’t really know what Ben does for a living. When I asked him, he said he’s in finance, but wasn’t specific. I didn’t feel comfortable pressing harder because I sort of got the vibe that he was being purposely vague.
Aunty Pam, here I am with a dream guy: great looking, wealthy, and crazy generous. What woman wouldn’t want such a catch? Do you think there’s something not quite right here, or should I just relax and go with the flow and enjoy being wined and dined?
Hmm, this is a 3 chin stroker. Let Aunty Pam top up her prosecco and think about this for a moment.
While Aunty Pam has no problem whatsoever being given extravagant gifts by people who are relative strangers (size 10-12 tops, ring size, 8), clearly you do. And if I were a therapist, I might want to take a deeper dive into areas of self esteem and self worth…but I’m not a therapist. I’m not even very well educated, although those 6 years I spent in community college were the happiest times of my life. I will say, though, that what jumped out to me (and my eagle eyed readers who love nothing more than to shout, ‘Ah-HA!’ in unison) was this little nugget:
“The other thing is that I don’t really know what Ben does for a living. When I asked him, he said he’s in finance, but wasn’t specific. I didn’t feel comfortable pressing harder because I sort of got the vibe that he was being purposely vague.”
Quest, c’mon, you don’t feel ‘comfortable’ pressing Ben about the details of his career but you feel comfortable accepting a sapphire and diamond ring? Grrrrrl…
I’m not trying to paint you as a gold-digger, K? But you and I both know something isn’t sitting quite right in your gut about Gentle Ben. Something isn’t sitting right in mine, either, but that might be the smoked mackerel pate. To say after one week that he’d like to become ‘exclusive,’ and then tossing about “When we’re married…” after 8 weeks? Yeah, a little quick. And on top of this, let’s just toss in anything you desire from Tiffany’s…let me put it this way: as much as I’d love to say, “What more do you want! This is Prince Charming! Grab him!” I have to say instead, “I think this might be Prince Controlling, from the Province of Manipulativstan.”
Look, I could be wrong. I often am, yet that doesn’t seem to stop people from writing to a comedian for help in life altering events. So how about this: how about talking with Ben about slowing down. A lot. And see how he reacts to that. If he starts to freak out, that tells you a lot, especially if you see a hint of anger in his response. I’ve read enough articles from Psychology Today to know that a ‘control freak’ tends to attempt to control the environment if he/she can’t actually control the minds of others. So let’s hope he reacts reasonably and sensibly, and doesn’t start sending you roses with the heads cut off.
Remember, Quest, you met Ben online. People can be less than truthful in their online profiles and some can even be stalkers. Do you even know if Ben’s really divorced or has a daughter? I’d want to meet her at some point and I’d want to pay close attention to how they react with one another. Does it appear healthy and happy? Tense? Weird? How often does he see her? Why did the marriage end?
Maybe my suspicion is from having lived in Los Angeles for 15 years and running into men who 1. Spoke with a faked English accent, pretending to be from the UK, 2. Fooled entire bars and restaurants into picking up his tab by claiming to be the bassist in Aerosmith, and 3. Claimed Peter Falk stole their physical appearance to create his character, ‘Colombo.’ And this was before online dating! I was actually set up with these guys by FRIENDS. With whom I no longer speak.
I’m really rooting for Ben to be a great guy who is presently overly excited by the prospect of romance with you, quite like a Golden Retriever knocking you down when he sees you come in the front door. I’m not saying to smack him over the snout with a rolled up newspaper, I’m just saying it wouldn’t hurt to say a few, quiet, “Down, boys.” Best of luck!