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He likes me. He likes me not. Solutions?
December 23, 2012 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Unrequited crush...or is it?

So, to keep this brief and simple as possible, I'm seeking a solution. I'm gay and work at a retail store (technology-oriented). About a month ago, I met a guy at the store (out of pure happenstance; asked him if he needed help). For some reason, we hit it off. Talked for about an hour about random things (okay, maybe I wasn't exactly doing my job!). He asked me how old I was, among a few other seemingly personal questions (particularly about my Deafness; he's hearing). He said something that had dirty innuendo to me and winked, but then proceeded to ask if I had a girlfriend. Despite that odd blip in conversation, we had a really good conversation and exchanged numbers.

On text, he texted me almost everyday, and we had some long and interesting conversations. He specifically asked for me at my store, asking me if I was going to be in, etc. This went on for a few weeks, up to one night when he asked me if I was gay or bisexual. After telling him my sexual orientation, he admitted he wasn't sure if he was suppressing his sexuality or the possibility that he was gay/bi, and that he would kiss a man if he wanted to...but also explained he knew he liked women. I told him he was free to experiment and that there was no pressure. We moved on from that topic, and then he came in my store one more time, saying he'd bring his friend to meet me the upcoming weekend. Well, after that visit (whereas nothing unusual happened), our friendship went onto freeze mode. He stopped texting me, stopped talking to me, and only gave short responses on text, if he responded at all. Frankly, it was really weird how all of a sudden he seemed to "forget" about me.

The solution I'm seeking is the best way to approach this situation. I felt a vibe between us, and had a crush on him. He's so smart, so nice and sweet, and just somehow triggered feelings inside me that I didn't know I had. Realistically, I know things probably won't work out because: a) he loves music and writes songs; I'm Deaf so music is definitely not something I have any knowledge about; b) we don't have much in common other than being intellectuals; and c) he's straight/curious... but the "deep freeze" mode has left me perturbed and confused, and I want to at least have some kind of closure, and know where we stand, and see if I did something wrong or if it's just him (going through a hard time or something).

Another factor to consider: he's 20; I'm 26. Both males, he's hearing, me Deaf. I don't think my Deafness had to do with it, because he seemed interested in me up until the freeze. (And he never brought his friend to meet me.)

Any concrete solutions for this problem would be great. I want to get down to the bottom of this.

Thanks, and Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas!
posted by dubious_dude to Human Relations (15 answers total)
 
"deep freeze" mode has left me perturbed and confused, and I want to at least have some kind of closure, and know where we stand, and see if I did something wrong or if it's just him (going through a hard time or something).

The only kind of closure there is in weird fade-situations like this is for you to just accept that he flaked and move on. You didn't do anything wrong. Nothing at all. And excusing his change of heart with maybe he's "going through a hard time or something" is just excusing rudeness. I know that people don't owe each other explanations but it's rude to just shut down & disappear without a courtesy "goodbye."

It sounds like maybe he's scared of his own sexuality and, having broached it with you and found it was possible for him to explore that aspect of it, got scared off. It's not you, it's him. If you are feeling kindly toward him, wish him well (privately) and hope he finds the same level of comfort in his own shoes that you have found.
posted by headnsouth at 4:58 PM on December 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


I know things probably won't work out because: a) he loves music and writes songs; I'm Deaf so music is definitely not something I have any knowledge about; b) we don't have much in common other than being intellectuals; and c) he's straight/curious...

I appreciate how you must feel about this, but I think you have your ABC's in reverse order. The most likely reason this tryst probably won't work out is because this guy doesn't know what he wants, or is insecure about what he wants, or likes to flirt with store attendants and jerk them around. The music almost certainly doesn't have to do with it, and there's every possibility you could make it work with a guy who's really into music. So, best of luck in future personal endeavors. Chalk this up as a weird thing that happened at work and go out looking for someone who makes you feel the same way, without the ambiguity you describe.
posted by Nomyte at 5:02 PM on December 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


I want to at least have some kind of closure, and know where we stand, and see if I did something wrong or if it's just him (going through a hard time or something).

Give yourself the closure you seek. Does it really matter why the "freeze" happened? This guy isn't interested and doesn't owe you an explanation - and likely wont give you one. I don't mean to be harsh, and who knows if its him, you, or both... But stop texting this guy. Consider the conversations practice for the future.
posted by sm1tten at 5:19 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


he's straight/curious...

If I were you, I'd assume that's the explanation: he realized he's straight after all.
posted by John Cohen at 6:00 PM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


It sounds like he's not entirely secure in himself either way, and got scared. He's very young, so as much as disappearing is poor behavior, I can imagine he may be feeling distressed with uncertainty about his identity. As everyone else said, it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong, so don't fret! That said, doesn't sound like it would be viable to really develop something with someone who's not ready to admit/explore who he really is.
posted by namesarehard at 6:05 PM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. The deaf/hearing dichotomy is a red herring. Honestly it sounds like he was into you, then pulled back for some external reason.

The best thing you can do is keep inviting him out do something, but in a non-binding way (i.e. don't judge him and get all mad if he refuses or flakes). If he shows up, you'll build rapport. If he doesn't, maybe he's not worth the mental energy.
posted by spatula at 8:32 PM on December 23, 2012


Oh! What big lesson for you to learn. How lucky!!

Listen, this kind of thing happens ALL the time. Not everyone we "vibe" with ends up becoming a friend, or more. That's just Life.

You did nothing wrong. It just is what it is.

That said....

When someone gives you the freeze like that, and in truth you hardly know them, let it go. Accept that it is done, right away.

Also, make note for the future.

Especially in a situation like this, given your ages, the person sometimes comes back for round two, sometimes they can run Hot & Cold for years if you let them.

Don't let anyone run Hot & Cold on you. Ultimately, selfish people are the only types that do this. People with integrity are steady and reliable.

You deserve steady and reliable friends and romantic partners. This behavior is a red flag! Recognize, and don't get sucked back in. It's not your job to fix omeone like this, nor is it even possible. Ultimately, if you accept folks who freeze you out back into your circke of intimacy, all you will have taught them is that they can successfully pick you up and put you down on a whim, and you'll be OK with that.

Since this Right Now sucks enough to have prompted you to write an AskMe about it, don't be open or ammenable when this fellow or others like him come back around to you again. You have better ways to spend your time and energy.

Take this advice to the bank:))

Merry Christmas!!
posted by jbenben at 8:32 PM on December 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Here is where you stand: he's not interested in you.

He apparently doesn't have the decency to let you know that, either to your face or by text message, which means he's not that nice of a person. If he were interested in you, he wouldn't be shutting you out in the fashion that he is. I'd hazard a guess that he's either actually straight and was merely flirting with the idea of sex with another guy, or he's met someone of the appropriate gender and is now in a relationship with them, or he's an asshole without the necessary social skills, or maybe something else entirely.

If someone likes you, they'll make that clear to you. Not the yes/no/yes, sorta/no/yes/[vanish] games that this guy is apparently playing. The first time someone says "no", move on. Because no means no.

If it seems like I'm being harsh, I apologise. I was in a similar situation to you once, and this is what I wish someone had said to me instead of me mooning after someone who just wanted me to stroke their ego by being interested in them.
posted by Solomon at 2:56 AM on December 24, 2012


It seems most likely to me (*caveat: straight woman with no particular sexuality concerns) that he's in some way freaked out about his possible bisexuality. He's still young at 20 and from what he told you is obviously still figuring it out. Someone or something unrelated to you may have triggered anxiety about it or he may just have become overwhelmed.

Either way, the thoughtful thing to do would have been to let you know that instead of just breaking off contact. That he didn't is probably another indicator that he's not coping very well with the situation.
posted by *becca* at 3:12 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"He's not interested" as a way of explaining the behaviour of someone who was acting interested... that's a phrasing I take issue with, in general.

Here's how I'd put it: he's *not interested enough to be of any use to you*.

I think this guy is 20 and just not coping well, which is why I'm not saying OFF WITH HIS HEAD or anything like that. But it is a really crap way to treat you.

Now as for his interest level, he could be obsessed with you 24/7 and maybe has a pornographic shrine to you in his attic, but since he won't follow through with his actions he would still not be *interested enough to be any use to you* even then.

Once you understand that it is easier than trying to understand the sheer mindfuck of somebody acting all interested and then vanishing. It's not enough to say they were acting interested because they were not interested. The purpose of saying something like that is to stop you cherishing false hope, but it usually also has the effect of making you doubt your own perceptions, as if all this we just a product of your fevered imagination when in fact there was plenty going on there that would have made a reasonable person wonder about his interest level.

But yeah, you have to let this one go.
posted by tel3path at 6:03 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wildly uninformed hunch says he's a closet case or bicurious dude who is freaked out by his hots for you. He was pretty clearly intrigued for a stretch, then when his fantasy got a little too realistic he got cold feet. Don't contact him. If anything is going to happen he has to come to you. If he contacts you again, remain calmly open about expressing your interest and follow Dan Savage's campsite rule. But 20 year old closet cases don't make great boyfriend material, by the way.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:40 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It sounds like he thinks you're a neat person but for whatever reason--and this is the important part--HE DOES NOT want to be interacting with you right now. We can't know why but that doesn't mean you shouldn't move on. You should definitely do your best to move on.

I do this all the time, and it's usually not that the other person is awful or anything. In fact it's usually because I like them enough that I've been flirting with them against my better judgment, and then I have a sudden "WTF, I need to not be doing this, what am I thinking" moment.

Reasons for this could include: they have a significant other and they are being sketchy about that, they are obviously into me but it's not mutual even though I like the attention and think they're neat, I'm into them but only in a casual way and they're more serious, I'm into them but they seem flaky and that drives me nuts because I'm a planner, we're into each other but the sex is not going to work out, we're into each other but they're having a weird rebound moment, etc. etc. etc. Like I said, there are a million reasons.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:16 AM on December 24, 2012


Thanks for the responses, all. You all had made very good points and helped me to reframe the situation.

Ironically, he contacted me again. Apparently, he's being kicked out because he won't hold a job up and has some personal issues with his parents. He asked me if he could crash at my place. While I think he's hot, I don't think that's a good idea (for someone who I just met, especially), so I think I'm going to write this guy off and move on.
posted by dubious_dude at 1:13 AM on December 25, 2012


Yeah, sounds like you're making a good choice.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:19 AM on December 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Ironically, he contacted me again. Apparently, he's being kicked out because he won't hold a job up and has some personal issues with his parents. He asked me if he could crash at my place."

You know what jbenben said about hot-and cold-blowers? It's true, and can amazingly often be a sign of worse things under the surface.

Well done for recognising a bad idea when you see one!
posted by tel3path at 7:50 AM on December 25, 2012


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