Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I just broke up with a woman I was sure I would marry, and I can’t understand why this happened. Rachel and I met at a friend’s party and started to date immediately. We got along great from the start, and within a few weeks we were an "item."

One night, after we’d been dating for a few months, I brought up the topic of marriage. I told Rachel how much I cared about her and hoped that we could talk about building a future together. Her response? She said that although she liked me very much, it was too soon for her to say that she wanted to marry me.

I made up my mind to win her over and leaped into action.

Being the type of man who goes after what he wants, I made up my mind to win her over and I leaped into action. I surprised her with flowers, I invited her to dinner at the fanciest restaurant, I had a violinist serenade her at work one evening that she stayed late, I bought her jewelry, and I even presented her with a hand calligraphed booklet of poetry I wrote for her.

After three weeks of my intensive campaign to win her heart, Rachel started giving me excuses about why she couldn’t see me so often anymore. It also became hard for me to reach her on the phone, and she frequently didn’t return my messages. I finally confronted her about why she was avoiding me, and she said our dating was moving way too fast.

We haven’t gone out together for two weeks now, and I’m afraid that if I call her again she’ll turn me down. I can’t believe this is happening to me. Should I walk away, or is there still hope for us?

Ron in Miami

Dear Ron,

Don’t give up on the chuppah so quickly. Once you understand a basic difference between men and women, you will be able to appreciate Rachel’s request to slow down your dating -– and you can still keep your dreams alive!

You and Rachel have fallen into a pattern that has contributed to the break-up of many promising courtships. You accelerated your pattern of dating, believing that you could overwhelm her by convincing her of your deep love for her. Instead, you overwhelmed her so much you nearly suffocated her.

Women need a period of time to let their emotions blossom.

Men and women have different internal dating clocks. Many men quickly see their emotional attachment to a woman grow, and identify qualities they would like in a future wife. Women frequently need more time to go through this process. Even if they enjoy their date’s company and like him a great deal, many women need a period of time to let their emotions blossom. When that time is missing, she may feel rushed, pressured, nauseated, ambivalent and even resentful. She may even make the mistake of breaking up, when she should be slowing down and regulating the pace of dating to allow her emotions sufficient time to develop.

Rachel asked for time to breathe in between your time together. Don’t read more into that request. It doesn’t seem that she wants to break up with you. She just needs to date at a slower pace. While a relationship is growing, the optimal dating pattern should be one or two dates a week, with a few telephone calls in between. You should even include opportunities "to miss each other."

Our advice? Don’t rush her. After all, what’s a few extra months compared to a lifetime?

Rosie & Sherry