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god I hate dating.
October 5, 2011 7:05 AM   Subscribe

A kind of inane dating question about whether I got blatantly blown off by a guy or whether I'm completely overreacting.

So, this is a pretty ridiculous dating question, but I recently moved cross country and don't really have any friends yet that I'm close enough to to bounce this one off (I mean, without calling my friends a thousand miles away to tell them tales of texts not returned, which is a little embarrassing.)

So I've been dating a guy (okcupid) for about a month. Get together a couple times a week, he generally texts me every day. He's nice to be around, I feel comfortable around him, we get along and all. I'm not absolutely swept off my feet or anything, but I like him. He appears to like me, says nice things about me, keeps making plans for different things he's going to show me since I just moved here, asked me if I wanted to go out with his friends sometime and meet them. etc etc. I'm 23, he's a few years older.

Last weekend he asked me if I'd want to hang out the next weekend sometime in the morning before he went to work, and I said sure (we haven't so far because he works 12 hr shifts weekend nights and as far as I can tell he pretty much sleeps the rest of the time. which is understandable.) We go out on wednesday, he drops me off and says 'see you this weekend.' Friday night he texts some 'how are you' type message, I reply and then ask if he's still down to get together over the weekend. He says 'yes, what about sunday?' I text back and say 'Sunday's good, I might go volunteer at this festival sunday but it's flexible if/when I do so what time were you thinking?' and hear nothing from him the rest of the weekend. I figure I already brought it up once, ball in his court, so I don't text him again.

Sunday night I finally send him a text asking about how his weekend went. Get nothing back. Take it as confirmation that the guy dumped me, spend the rest of the night moping. Today I had a really crazy day involving taking someone to the hospital among other things, which sort of pushed the moping out of my mind and I'd basically gotten all of my moping out of my system when he texts me this evening. And tells me lots of mundane details about his weekend, ostensibly in response to the text i sent 24 hrs before.

So... geez. I had just assumed that I was intentionally blown off, and went through being pissed off and hurt, but from the tone of the text, I'm assuming he doesn't see it that way. now I don't know. I mean, we didn't actually make plans, he didn't stand me up or anything, but still... So, the first question is, from an outside perspective, where is the happy medium between not overreacting and not being a doormat here? I didn't reply to the text, I was out with friends and just decided I wasn't up to thinking about it tonight.

And, in a larger sense, two days not hearing from someone shouldn't make me assume that I've been dumped, and probably shouldn't piss me off as much as it did in this case. On the other hand, I've let people I was dating treat me pretty badly, so I'm worried that I could go too far the other way. So... how can I figure out what a reasonable expectation of someone I'm dating is without querying askmefi? And how can I be less insecure in dating? Are these things that will come with experience?

*a note on texting-- I know that a lot of people are going to tell me that texting isn't a great way to communicate, and I know that it's not and all of this would have been way clearer if we just talked on the phone. But we work totally opposite schedules and one or the other of us is at work literally 80% of the time between 8am-12am. So nearly all of this text sending is happening when one of us is working and couldn't have taken a call.

(anon because my metafilter sn is the same as my okcupid sn and I don't really want anyone to pull up my dating hand-wringing if they were to google me)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (43 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, weekend plans fell through, you texted him, and he took...too long to text back? Is that what's going on? Why didn't you text him back?

You should call him--call him with a phone using the magic of voice communication--and ask him what's up. I get that it's easier to text, but dude. You're getting worked up about it, he likely has no idea that you're worked up about it, just call him.
posted by phunniemee at 7:23 AM on October 5, 2011


The thing about text messages is that they aren't reliable. The GSM standard specifies a "best effort" attempt to deliver a text message. I'm used to my text messages being delivered immediately almost every time, but this is deceptive because sometimes they take hours, or almost a day, or don't get delivered at all.
posted by grouse at 7:26 AM on October 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


it sure sounds like he blew you off, and now he's trying to play it off. at this point you basically have to say something to him, in person, about what your expectations were. it's possible he's being disrespectful, and it's possible he genuinely doesn't get where you're coming from. sorry, but there's no way around the fact that texting completely sucks as a method of communication. you have to talk face to face about this kind of stuff.
posted by facetious at 7:26 AM on October 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I mean, without calling my friends a thousand miles away to tell them tales of texts not returned, which is a little embarrassing.

Whaaaat? This kind of bullshit is exactly what friends are for, regardless of where they are. They're your friends and they know you infinitely better than a bunch of equally confused shmucks on some website.

Anyway, a couple of days of incommunicado in what is not yet a capital-r Relationship is okay, in my book. Especially if he didn't break a date. Dude works 12-hour graveyard shifts. I remember from when I worked 12-hour graveyard shifts, everything that could possibly slip my mind, regardless of importance, managed to at some point or another. I also started dating someone in that state and there was a lot of strain on that newly-formed relationship because of the job, which I eventually quit because of the mental, physical and social tolls it took on me.

I had the ability to do that. He might not, so you'll either have to put up with a dude who is overtaxed -- and I do not believe there are more than a handful of exceptional human beings alive who can do 12-hour graveyard without it taking a serious toll -- or get out of this. He lives in an abnormal situation and dealing with it is going to take extra self-preservation on your part.

Also, when you're just starting things off, talking (or emailing or texting or whatever) every day is the exception, not the rule. Don't get used to it, don't expect it, and if it falters, don't think it's a sign of the End Times.
posted by griphus at 7:29 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


90% likely he blew you off. 10% likely something else happened - your text didn't arrive on time, whatever.

Your call as to whether you should pursue the 10% possibility, but go in with eyes wide open wary of bullshit.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:32 AM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


The thing about text messages is that they aren't reliable. The GSM standard specifies a "best effort" attempt to deliver a text message. I'm used to my text messages being delivered immediately almost every time, but this is deceptive because sometimes they take hours, or almost a day, or don't get delivered at all.

Seconding this. It's possible some of your texts didn't get to him, or vice versa; I'd call him in response to his chatty "so here's what I did this weekend" text, to say "yeah, sounds great. Say, OUR plans kind of fell through, did you not get my text?"

And then when he says "what? You said yes about Sunday? Crap, I never saw that, I'm sorry!" Or he says "yes, I texted back that such-and-such a time wouldn't work, but I didn't hear back from YOU so I figured you either never got it or were busy," then you'll know that your phones were just being stupid.

But yeah, texting is really unreliable sometimes and this looks like just "missed signals hijinks."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 AM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh but you *did* make plans. 'yes, what about sunday?' I text back and say 'Sunday's good'

And then he blew you off. I mean this only to say that your response to the whole thing was absolutely right on. He flaked after proposing a plan that you accepted. The fact that he didn't complete the plan by telling you when is actually only more inconvenient and annoying, as you were left to try to accomplish your other volunteer activity without knowing what your schedule was going to be.

And you were right to mope a bit, and then focus on other things and move on with your life.

Now, where to go from here? Well, never ascribe to malice what can be attributed to ignorance. So he flaked and behaved badly. If you're interested in seeing him again, let him know that he behaved badly and express how you hope he'll behave in the future if he doesn't want to send you the loud-and-clear message that you're unimportant. You can even package it with all your understanding about the schedule he keeps, etc. You just really need to express what will and what wont work for you. I don't think you'll rock his world by telling him that you expect plans to be kept unless you're actually notified that they're being canceled or that their planning is being aborted in mid-plan.

Or, if you don't particularly need to see him again, say nothing and move on.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you were contributorily negligent in your behavior as well. When he didn't follow up to tell you when you were getting together on Sunday, you should have texted him again to ask if you were still on.

Furthermore, this might be the makings of a rom-com with him wondering why YOU blew him off when he clearly stated a time for you to meet at the top of the Empire State Building, and you left him waiting, with flowers, in the rain, among tourists... because you never got his text. One afternoon, for whatever capricious reason they do these things, AT&T turned off my text messaging. It also coincided with my car dying. So I sent texts to people, canceling plans that we had. Only they never got them. I was pretty livid when I realized what happened, and AT&T felt my wrath and soothed me with some service credits. But yes, this may have been exactly what happened.

Finally, my boyfriend sometimes drops off the face of the planet because of his weird working hours. After we'd been dating a few months (officially, but still light and casual) he disappeared for 48 hours with no text or call. I sent him a quick "Are you dead?" text, and that got his attention. (I have anxiety. I was legitimately concerned he might be dead. I know that's crazy. I'm coping.) Luckily, this is something you can prepare for. Just have a standby smalltalk text conversation on the backburner ready to go in case someone goes radio silent. "Quick: what's the best pizza place in midtown?! Obi Wan, you're my only hope!" or "Did you know that albino dolphins are pink?" or "If you were a tree, what style of furniture would you want to be made into when you were unceremoniously uprooted and processed for our consumerist tendencies?" Tailored to your personality, natch.

posted by jph at 7:36 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I go with "probably blew you off" - but the issue is why. If this were me, it would be Sunday morning and I'd be groggy and exhausted and would think to myself "things are going well, we can see each other when I'm not so tired and miserable snore snore snore". And then I'd feel sort of dumb and awkward and sort of resentful and maybe never mention it. Why not say to him, "hey, were we going to do something last Sunday and we accidentally stood each other up?" and see what he says? If he was just all groggy and disorganized, he'll probably be all "yeah, I kind of got really tired and..." and then you can convey that you're absolutely fine with being all tired but could he shoot you a text next time?

Or maybe he's just a total jerk. I'm in my thirties and this whole thing of guys being super, super casual and women being not supposed to mention it because it's Not A Relationship" isn't how things went when I was dating more.
posted by Frowner at 7:37 AM on October 5, 2011 [17 favorites]


I second talking to him. Give him the benefit of the doubt that this was a technology failure, not a relationship failure. If it turns out to be the latter, so be it, but texting can be very unreliable.
posted by biscotti at 7:38 AM on October 5, 2011


When you don't know somebody very well, every new item - an action, an inaction, a piece of information about his past, a stated preference - can have a huge influence on your perceptions of them. You like this guy, but he just did something moderately jerky, in a way that may or may not have been accidental. Your question is about how to know if this is a big deal or not, and for me the answer is to try to consider this one negative action on its own, independent of whether he has enough postive karma built up with you already to pay it off.

My metric would be this:
If (good friend I've trusted for several years) did this, would I be this angry at them, and would I complain to them?

With the caveat: Over the time that I've known him, has (new friend) done enough jerky things (totally unrelated to this one) that comparing him to (good friend) is an unreasonable assumption?
posted by aimedwander at 7:39 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


My short answer is right up front: You have my permission to stop seeing this guy. Now, if my read on the situation (which is lengthy, and follows) is wrong, I strongly and without reservation suggest a direct and frank conversation about what happened and how that didn't match up with your expectations. I wouldn't go into any detail about "how it made you feel" because that's not actually really relevant. You don't need to hand control of your feelings over to a guy at the one month mark. But you do want to set your boundaries now. And for you, it sounds like being incommunicado about dropped plans is outside of your comfort zone.

I'm not absolutely swept off my feet or anything, but I like him. You deserve at least the anything part of this statement that goes beyond liking him. This is not intended to be snarky. I like chocolate cake, but I don't want to date a slice. I just get the impression that you don't feel a "click" here. I say it all the time, and it bears repeating again. You can stop seeing someone for any reason at all, including no reason.

and probably shouldn't piss me off as much as it did in this case. Who cares how it should make you feel? You're upset about this, and you have every right to be.

These two things, combined, suggest to me that you might be looking for a reason to abandon this ship. Because, like most folks, you want to be dating someone you feel strongly about, not just, "eh, he's doing nice things for me." You also want (understandably!) someone who feels so strongly about you that they wouldn't a) drop the ball on making plans or b) not be in touch with you for over 24 hours.

You certainly don't seem to want someone who is both dropping the ball and ignoring you. And then! not making any effort to explain the heroic task that kept him from basking in your presence. It sure does look like he has little to no respect for your time.

I'm of the mind that if a guy says he's going to plan or do something, he gets a free pass if he was taking his grandmother to the hospital and sitting solemnly by her bedside. Busting a puppy mill or suddenly being called on to save the moon from falling into the ocean would also qualify.

On preiview, griphus, he did break a date. He reserved her Sunday evening and then...disappeared. If he tried to get in touch about a time/place and she didn't respond, then he could leave a voicemail.

I'm curious if he knows/thinks he's the only guy you're seeing? And if he's given any indication that he might be seeing other ladies as well? Because he's certainly acting like you're a sure thing and he doesn't need to make any specific effort to impress you.
posted by bilabial at 7:46 AM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


It sounds like he blew you off. I'd ask him if he got your text on Friday and if he did, I wouldn't see him again.
posted by timsneezed at 7:49 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sounds to me like someone who is as lukewarm on you as you are on him and who's using that as an excuse to half-ass his attention to you.

Schedules or not, you need to be clear about setting the tone for how your meetings are going to be. If they're always these half-scheduled loosey-goosey sorts of things where you wobble back and forth about when and where you're going to do something... then they're going to be treated that way. Whether it be this guy or another.

You can't use "yeah, maybe then" as a scheduling style and then be bothered when stuff just doesn't happen. "Maybe I'll come by" also means "maybe I won't," and the same for "maybe we'll do something" or "maybe I'll be available."

If you want to keep seeing this guy - and I'm all in favor of dating for compatibility rather than world-fire-setting - then you need to set this on a path towards committing to times toot-sweet. Accept your culpability but start setting firm expectations. "Okay, I'll leave Sunday afternoon free and we'll meet at 1?" sort of phrases.

But really, if you're just not that into it then you should just let it die. The world's a big place, there'll be more folks.
posted by phearlez at 7:53 AM on October 5, 2011


I just misread your comment about "I might volunteer Sunday but ..." as a full-on "I might be busy Sunday" and had to go back and read it again to realize what you really meant. Maybe he did the same thing.
posted by RobotHero at 7:54 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm in my thirties and this whole thing of guys being super, super casual and women being not supposed to mention it because it's Not A Relationship" isn't how things went when I was dating more.

I'm in my late twenties and this has been a cardinal rule of dating, regardless of the gender of the parties.
posted by griphus at 7:58 AM on October 5, 2011


Here's a thought experiment: Imagine that he did reply to your text. The scenario goes something like this:

Him on Friday: how are you
You on Friday: Good. Still down to get together over the weekend?
Him on Friday: yes, what about sunday?
You on Friday: Sunday's good, I might go volunteer at this festival sunday but it's flexible if/when I do so what time were you thinking?
Him on Friday: What about 3:30?

You on Sunday: How did your weekend go?

Him on Monday: oh, fine, I did this and that and blahblahblah

I mean, if he texted you a time that he wanted, but you never got that text but he assumes you did, and then the next thing he hears from you is you asking how his weekend went, then he probably would think that you blew him off AND that you're trying to pretend that you didn't have plans. If he went and made an AskMe, people would probably cast you as the inappropriate one.

I say there's no way to tell if he blew you off without asking him about it. "So I thought we had plans to hang out on Sunday" or something like that will probably work. His reply to that will be much more telling than a bunch of guesses by internet strangers.

PS (Texting is imperfect, and if someone starts a plan but then texting drops off, it's perfectly acceptable to doubletext them. A text on Saturday asking "Hey, are we still on for tomorrow? Lemme know." or something would've probably clarified his intentions.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:05 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I figure I already brought it up once, ball in his court, so I don't text him again.

You know what? You should be direct. All this "the ball is in his court so if I contact him he will think I think we Have A Relationship and that would be the worst thing ever because it Simply Isn't Done" business has got to stop, and it can start stopping with you. Follow up with the dude, and if the dude is all "Oh no, my date expects that dating will place some minor constraints on my behavior, thereby impinging on my freedom" then he is not the one for you. Even if he absolutely doesn't want his freedom impinged upon, this lurking idea that we must 1. not impinge on the dudes' freedom BUT 2. never articulate any of this is really harmful.

I'm in my late twenties and this has been a cardinal rule of dating, regardless of the gender of the parties.

See, I don't understand why people do this to each other - it seems like no one has any fun, everyone "keeps their options open" but their options all end up being "another casual half-ass relationship with someone I can't even trust to keep a date because I don't know them at all". Honestly, I'm glad I'm old - you kids today have more porn and better sex toys and that's nice, but whenever I consider dating someone under thirty I realize that I couldn't cut it in the brave new world.
posted by Frowner at 8:06 AM on October 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


It's entirely possible the "how about Sunday" text got lost, or that his response to that one got lost. You should ask him what happened to your Sunday plans.
posted by jeather at 8:07 AM on October 5, 2011


There are so many possibilities regarding what happened here that there's really no answer to this other than to talk to him about it. It doesn't have to be a big thing, either; next time you see him just ask, in a casual and non-confrontational manner, "Oh hey, what happened Sunday?"

It's possible that since you've been together about a month and you see each other a couple times a week, he feels sufficiently comfortable and familiar with you that he won't expect it to be a huge problem if he's too tired to go out, or whatever thing. Or maybe he's really absent-minded and forgot. Or maybe he's a huge flake.

It sounds like it really could be one of those things where specific behaviors aren't really a big deal in the mind of one person and are definitely a big deal in the mind of the other and there's nothing wrong with having different standards of interaction, it's something that needs to be communicated about if you're dating someone.

Maybe he interpreted your text stating you might have plans Sunday as something that put the ball in your court, and waited to hear back from you regarding whether you were going to go do that or not, and when he didn't, he assumed you were busy. And even if you might not have had the same interpretation of a text like that, it might just be how he works. Or maybe not - but in any event there's no way to know without talking to him about it.

But either way, it's weird that he apparently did some things this weekend which weren't work and didn't even think about involving you in them.

As far as why this upset you so much, I'd think it's because the fadeout is kind of the done thing, for whatever shitty reason, in terms of online dating, so you're on the lookout for any signs of it.

So... how can I figure out what a reasonable expectation of someone I'm dating is without querying askmefi?

Talk to them about it. There is no universal standard of "reasonable." There is only the space between your expecations and theirs. Some people might not see why you're upset about what happened. Some people might see what he did as an instant dealbreaker. Figure out your boundaries and expectations and when something like this happens, give them the benefit of the doubt the first time it happens and ask them about it in a friendly way the next time you talk to them. If they do it again after that and they don't have a really good reason then it might be time to move on.

Are these things that will come with experience?

I'd think so, yes.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:07 AM on October 5, 2011


I have a good friend of many years with whom I still sometimes have misunderstandings like this. About a year ago, we both sulked around with hurt feelings on a day we'd expected to get together, because we each thought the next step was that the other one would call us once she'd checked her other commitments. We both thought the other one was blowing us off. We felt like idiots when we figured it out! Maybe your guy thought he was waiting to hear back from you about volunteering, or some such thing. Now, because I do not want to feel like an idiot again, I would hav3 called on the day to say, "Do we still have plans? I'm free." In your shoes now, three days later, I'd say something like, "I'm sorry we didn't connect on Sunday," and then move on, maybe keeping an eye out for the possibility of a bad pattern emerging.
posted by not that girl at 8:08 AM on October 5, 2011


Okay, I'd 70% say that he blew you off. But, it won't hurt to confirm this with one last call! Even if he doesn't pick up (with both of your working hours and all that), he would see it is a miscall and respond in his own time.

I know texts that haven't gotten through. Or when I have a crisis at work or in my personal life and I really need to sort something out, replying texts drops to last on my priority list (I say this as a person who is usually in communication 24/7 with emails, texts, chat programs, text programs, facebook etc).
posted by moiraine at 8:09 AM on October 5, 2011


If you follow moiraine's advice, please, leave a voicemail! My phone, when off, does not register missed calls!

So all the time people are like, "I called you! Why didn't you call me back?!?!?!" and I'm like, "Why didn't you leave a voicemail!?!?!"

So. Don't just call anyone and feel secure that they'll be able to "see" you called.
posted by bilabial at 8:19 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sunday night I finally send him a text asking about how his weekend went. Get nothing back. Take it as confirmation that the guy dumped me, spend the rest of the night moping. Today I had a really crazy day involving taking someone to the hospital among other things, which sort of pushed the moping out of my mind and I'd basically gotten all of my moping out of my system when he texts me this evening. And tells me lots of mundane details about his weekend, ostensibly in response to the text i sent 24 hrs before.

To me, the ton of mundane details sounds like a fog machine kind of thing, like the way someone will pick up the phone and start going, "Oh hi, blah blah blah" to avoid any real conversation. That's the detail that makes me think, yeah, he was blowing you off. I don't think it's completely clear though, for all the reasons other people have mentioned. If I liked him enough I'd let him suggest another meeting, but I'd stop reserving times for him if he did it again.
posted by BibiRose at 8:50 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


He should have called you Sunday morning. It's a bad sign he did not.

Also, I don't believe in dropped texts, that's a plot device from a bad romantic comedy.

It's ok if you both are just lukewarm for each other, but the rudeness of dropping plans when he could easily have just dialed your number to clarify = m-o-v-e-o-n-s-i-s-t-e-r.
posted by jbenben at 9:57 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every time I've had a friend dating the person who is NEVER available on weekends (or only at odd weekend hours, or always cancelling weekend plans) it is bbecause they have a serious significant other who expects to spend the weekend with them.

Not saying this is the case, but his response (as though you never made plans) sounds shady.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:57 AM on October 5, 2011


Hmmm, if I am reading this right he ignored one of your texts and then responded to the second one you sent 24 hours later. It could be a missed message/he's super busy thing, but the reality is most text messages do get through. These in combination with the fact that you met him online lead me to feel that he's fading out or seeing other people, maybe. Of course I don't really know. But online dating often makes it difficult to know what the other person is doing because usually you have no friends in common, weren't friends before, and also, that person has lots of dating options from the website. So this kind of situation has been common for me with online dates (they blow off or "disappear" temporarily and were probably seeing other people). Sorry, I could be wrong. But you did ask for interpretations.
posted by bearette at 9:58 AM on October 5, 2011


Also, I don't believe in dropped texts, that's a plot device from a bad romantic comedy.

You don't have to believe it, but here's a paper analyzing text message failure rates: "For example the message delivery failure ratio is as high as 5.1% during normal operation conditions." (PDF)
posted by griphus at 10:09 AM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


He was attempting to reel you in.
posted by rockhopper at 10:18 AM on October 5, 2011


But we work totally opposite schedules and one or the other of us is at work literally 80% of the time between 8am-12am.

You both have a major schedule incompatibility, not to mention completely different styles of communication and mismatching levels of clinginess. Personally, those things alone would break up a budding relationship, especially one I don't feel too enthusiastic about.
posted by theraflu at 10:25 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're interested enough to make a whole askme on this...you should be interested enough to make contact with this boy and be like "whats up?, rather than just guessing and letting random internetters guess.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:38 AM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


one thing to consider: can you afford to drop otherwise good guys for things like this if you're not 100% certain he meant to dump you? do you have a roster of other equally otherwise-decent guys to draw from? if not, i'd suggest making *certain* that he blew you off before ending contact, otherwise the cost of making an error is high.

the only real "cost" of confirming if in fact that's what he did is slight, temporary embarrassment for not getting his very ambiguous signal.
posted by cupcake1337 at 11:16 AM on October 5, 2011


I think people are being waaaay too quick to tell you to move on. Do you like this guy? Do you want to see him again? Then call him or text him and ask him what happened. I can imagine him reading your text saying you might be volunteering as you being busy and not actually free to hang out on Sunday. That, combined with him working all weekend and being busy, could be a reasonable explanation for why he didn't get in touch with you. The fact that his weekends are spent working/sleeping might mean that he just didn't have the energy to figure out whether you really wanted to see him on Sunday or were politely demurring or something.

But seriously this is one incident! People mess up sometimes and communication isn't clear and you end up both uneasy and worried and convinced the other person is mad/not interested any more. The easiest way to deal with this is to just drop him, but I don't think giving him a chance to redeem himself is you being a doormat. I mean, this guy is nice? He texts you nearly every day? He wants you to meet his friends? You've only been dating a month? Give him a chance. What would you want him to do if you inadvertently did the same thing? If this happens more than like, twice, without a good and totally clear and reasonable explanation, yeah move on. But one time? Give the dude a break and see what happened.
posted by MadamM at 11:26 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, a data point: Dropped texts are rare but do happen. What is much more common is something I experienced with my previous phone: If I sent a text in an area with no service or low service and it wasn't able to send it, it would relegate it to the outbox but not tell me that I had done so (or maybe it had but I wasn't looking) and would not automatically re-send it until I set it to do so manually. I had no idea this was going on until someone sent me a second text asking for a response and I noticed the response I'd sent, sitting in the outbox.

I'm not saying this is definitely what happened, just that there are a lot of possibilities. Keep an open mind until you've had a chance to talk to the guy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:41 AM on October 5, 2011


I'm sure this doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but when I said "move on" in my comment, I meant "move on with him," not "quit seeing him." I meant, express your disappointment that things didn't work out on Sunday, but don't make a big deal of it. Do file the experience so that you'll be aware if he has a pattern of flakiness or thoughtfulness.
posted by not that girl at 1:52 PM on October 5, 2011


I'd be feeling just like you are now if this happened to me. I think you need to talk to him about it just to make sure it wasn't a dropped text issue, and to let him know you expect replies to your texts and confirmations of your plans. It's not unreasonable! The whole word "dating" means that you set a date to do something.

This, a thousand times:

I'm in my thirties and this whole thing of guys being super, super casual and women being not supposed to mention it because it's "Not A Relationship" isn't how things went when I was dating more.

I'm personally done with that approach. Next time someone blows me off, whether friend, lover, or relative, they get asked why in a direct and assertive way. Furthermore, next time I start dating someone, before this happens, they get a head's-up that this will be my approach. If they're more comfortable dating someone who won't ask why they weren't where they said they'd be, they can decide then -- no harm, no foul.

I suggest you use this approach as well. It seems like everybody really hates the super-casual approach anyway, so why are we continuing to do it?
posted by xenophile at 2:13 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to comment on this:

The thing about text messages is that they aren't reliable. The GSM standard specifies a "best effort" attempt to deliver a text message. I'm used to my text messages being delivered immediately almost every time, but this is deceptive because sometimes they take hours, or almost a day, or don't get delivered at all.


Agreed!! Text-messaging is an unreliable medium at best. I have issues with this quite a bit - I frequently have my phone turned off b/c I'm at work (no cell phones allowed) or I'm on an airplane, or maybe I'm on the Metro and can't get cell reception, etc. Messages are supposed to be "pushed" to my phone by AT&T when I again have cell reception (and 90% of the time they do), but it's very flaky - sometimes I get missed texts as soon as I have reception, sometimes it takes many hours, and occasionally I won't get the text at all.

So I guess my point to the OP is don't make significant relationship decisions based on what could very well be a technical glitch. Talk to him! Ask him why he didn't get back to you over the weekend and hear him out. Then decide how you want to proceed.
posted by photo guy at 2:59 PM on October 5, 2011


Hun, save your mental energy. Who cares if he blew you off? According to your question, you don't even like him very much.

You don't need to teach him how to be a better communicator just so that you can blow him off later. You're already just not that into him. Say goodbye and move on.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 3:14 PM on October 5, 2011


Just wanted to pop back in to say that the direct, assertive way isn't to say "hey, why did you blow me off on Sunday?" but something more along the lines of "I thought we had plans on Sunday but I never heard back from you about it. Was there a misunderstanding?"
posted by xenophile at 6:09 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Text messages do get dropped and packages do get lost in the mail.

Just, isn't it funny how that always happens on occasions like this?

Anyway, anyway. There is some reasonable possibility that this is a miscommunication or other understanding. To improve the signal-to-noise ratio, I would suggest something like, "My weekend was fine, thanks, but I understood we had plans on Sunday? What happened to that?"

Then you'll get a revealing response, like "well I said Sunday but didn't hear anything from you, so I figured you had other plans," or "GO AND BOIL A BUNNY YOU ANXIOUSLY-ATTACHED STALKER, GEEZ, I'M GLAD I FOUND OUT THIS EARLY THAT YOU ARE SO FREAKISHLY CONTROLLING." Or, if you're unlucky, you'll get something somewhere in between, like "but you said you were going to spend Sunday volunteering?" which kinda suggests a misunderstanding but one which could have been avoided if he'd just been paying f-ing attention, and really, how good a sign is it if he's not paying f-ing attention at this point, but...

Depending on the answer, I might give one more chance, considering that I had now nonaggressively communicated my preferences for clarity. If this kind of thing-that-looks-like-a-blowoff happened a second time, then that wouldn't be a misunderstanding.

And yes, I find the SUPER SUPER CASUAL mindset exhausting, and always have, including in the realm of friendship and business let alone romance. Oh, I'd make distinct plans in Euclidean spacetime, but that would blow my disguise that I don't give a shit whether I spend time with you or not. Of course clinginess is a turnoff, but if somebody doesn't give a shit whether they spend time with me or not, well... feeling's mutual I guess. Yawn. So romantic.
posted by tel3path at 1:34 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, he didn't really blow you off. You never had anything specific scheduled (time/date/event) only a vague "let's do something Sunday" nor any confirmation of plans. I'm surprised so many think he did blow you off because that, to me, requires establishing something more concrete.

Second, your response (Sunday's good, I might go volunteer at this festival sunday but it's flexible if/when I do so what time were you thinking?) is potentially ambiguous. It can be read as yes, you are interested in doing something Sunday and will schedule your time around his availability. But it can just as easily be read as you you might up for something with him Sunday but might just stick with your festival plans. Via text it's hard to say.

Third, he seems generally responsive within the limitations of his schedule outside of this one specific case.

If you like him enough to want to see him again respond to his text (maybe via a more reliable medium) and schedule something specific for next weekend.
posted by 6550 at 4:53 AM on October 6, 2011


Not everyone is chained to their mobile/cell phone. I frequently forget to charge mine up again for a day or two after it has run out of battery power.
posted by idiomatika at 2:49 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah I think he blew you off, but he still wants to keep you on the hook so to speak. It's not exactly a grave offense, but it would cool my feelings for a guy. I would send a short response and leave it at that. Let him make the effort to reconnect and if he doesn't, he doesn't. Who wants to date someone who consistently flakes out on you and doesn't communicate in a timely fashion?
posted by whoaali at 10:51 PM on October 9, 2011


update?
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:05 PM on October 13, 2011


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