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Dear Demetria:

My mom and her good friend since childhood had the idea to set me up with the friend’s son. I initially reached out to him in a friendly manner, and we had a nice conversation via text. However, I was hesitant and kept the convo very light because I thought having an attraction to him would be too close to home. Later I found out that our mothers had master-planned our future wedding before we officially went on a date.

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He’s always tired or working unless out with his friends. We both work a lot, so I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt because I am thinking he’s not interested, although his mother is saying that things are great for us. Which, by the way, is weird, having someone interpret my situation for me. I guess my question is, should I ask if he’s interested so we don’t waste our pretty? —Anonymous

Unfortunately, he doesn’t sound very interested, despite what his mother says. Everyone gets tired from working, but anyone who is actually interested in someone will somehow find time in his or her schedule to see that person, even when he or she is exhausted. If this guy has enough energy and free time to hang out with his friends—people he is interested in being around—then he could make time for you, too. He is choosing not to.

It’s probably not personal. That said, what he feels—or doesn’t—and the lack of interest he shows counts way more than anything his mother says. She may be interested in having you for a daughter-in-law, but you’re dating him, not her.

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Try not to take his lack of interest personally. I’m going to guess you are truly lovely, well rounded, a great conversationalist, easy on the eyes, ambitious, kind and nurturing and have all the other great traits that women are expected to embody. Let’s say you’re perfect, even. If I were he, I still wouldn’t date you under these circumstances. It’s not you; it’s your mom and her best friend.

Frankly, and to paraphrase retired street poet K-Solo, your moms are in your business way too much. It’s one thing to set your child up and make an introduction. But your mother and his have concocted a whole Shakespearean comedy for their children, and they’ve escalated from introduction—which I’m not mad at—to meddling and trying to force a union that clearly isn’t a match. It’s not enough for them to want their children to be together; the children actually have to want that, too. Otherwise this is a no-go.

Their level of involvement is off-putting, and worse, it’s a preview of what life would be like if you and this guy were to get hitched. It’s not as if you two would get married and they’d back off once the fairy-tale wedding was complete. They’d just be all up in your marriage just like in your courtship, and they’d be focusing on grandchildren—and, once they got them, how they were raised.

You seem to be OK (for now) with the mothers’ heavy-handedness. The guy you’re dating either is not OK with it or is not interested. Whatever his ultimate reason for not making time, the bottom line remains the same.

In most situations, you could just cut your losses and move on. Because this is the son of your mother’s bestie, you need to manage the relationship with a bit more finesse than usual. Get the guy on the phone and tell him that you think it’s best that you keep the situation at a platonic level. Also tell him that each of you should inform your parent that it was a mutual decision for the two of you to move on. Hopefully the moms will move on, too.

Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.

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Previously in Ask Demetria: “My Child’s Father Wants to Know ‘Who’s the Daddy’—but He’s the One Who’s Been Cheating