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Oops! Did I spill my crazy on you? Help me be a better online dater!
December 12, 2013 9:26 PM   Subscribe

First date excitement, late-night texting, boundary-pushing, and empty promises of a second date. Drama ensues, all in the span of a few weeks. Did I bring this on myself, was this guy bad news, and how do I tell the difference in the future?

Hi all, 31 year old female here. I was in a relationship for most of my mid- to late-twenties, and have been venturing back into the online dating scene in the past few months (using Ok Cupid). I just had an....experience that has left me somewhat bewildered and would like to get your input on what exactly went down. To spoil the ending of this saga - I will never speak with or see this person again, and I'm completely fine with that. I just want to know how I can better manage this type of thing in the future. Apologies for length. I am not a succinct writer.

Overall, my online dating experience has been positive. I have been on lots of first dates, fewer 2nd or 3rd dates, but nothing that's developed into a relationship - which is what I am ultimately looking for, although I am certainly not in a huge rush for that. Now, about 6 weeks ago I went on a great first date - this guy came on strong, and I was totally into it. He was assertive, charming, extremely good-looking, and seemingly very into me! We had lots of laughs, flirting, and a pretty hot goodnight kiss. Yay! This just so happened to be a few days prior to me leaving the country for a couple weeks. He was very upfront in stating he would like to see me again before I left although he understood that I was busy. After some late night flirting and heavy hinting the evening before I left, I kinda-sorta extended an invitation for him to hang out either at my place or his although I was clear that this kind of a second date is not my typical style (meaning, please don't interpret this as a sex-invitation, not ready for that yet!). He declined due to the late hour but expressed regret, and we both agreed that we were feeling this silly sense of urgency to see each other due to my impending trip. We left things with the understanding that once I return from my trip we will reconnect with dinner.

When I returned home I let him know that I was excited about getting to know him better, and asked him when/if he was available for another date. He was initially surprised, stating he didn't think I had been that into things (I should note this is the second time he had made a remark upon those lines. This is understandable as I am typically reserved and know I am slow to open up, so I was trying to be pretty clear in stating my enthusiasm with him), then responded that he does want to see me again but was very busy for the next few weeks. I again reiterated that I was looking forward to seeing him and that he should get in touch when things were a little less crazy for him.

Cue flirty/sexy texting over the next couple weeks. This escalates to sexy/explicit texting (initiated by him but I can play along, and it was fun). He consistently apologized about having a busy schedule but neglected to give me any idea when that schedule would clear up. Eventually this whole late-night invitation to 'hang out' cycle starts back up. Each time we get to the point where I am just about ready to walk out the door, then he says never mind, that it's not a good idea. After the second or third time this happened, I told him that I did want to see him again, but this last minute late-night negotiation was tough for me to manage (it was a little out of my comfort zone, on top of which it really doesn't feel great to get all excited and then rejected in the span of 10 minutes) and I requested that he find a date/time he was available for a date and ask me in advance.

Did that happen? No. During yet another one of these exchanges (which were all via text....ugh....) I tried calling. He didn't answer, saying he didn't want to talk. I then responded by saying I wanted to see him, but at a time we both had time and energy rather than late at night when we both had work in the morning. To which he replied that he has no free time, this is it, and maybe we shouldn't talk anymore as he's sure I have plenty of other dates from 'that thing' (meaning OK Cupid).

To me, this is when things really get weird but I will try to be objective here. I let him know that I don't want us to stop talking, and that I don't in fact have other dates. He then responds with surprise, stating that he thought I would have probably hooked up on my vacation or that I had been seeing someone recently, then repeatedly makes statements along the lines of 'that would be kinda hot. Too bad.' I didn't really want to engage in that conversation so I ended up apologizing that things didn't work out for that night and requested that he let me know what I could realistically expect from this situation given his schedule at this time (texting? Coffee? dinner?). It's late, I say goodnight and go to bed expecting to hear from him the next day.

An hour later, I get a text from him saying he fell asleep but just woke up. He doesn't acknowledge anything about the weirdness about the night's previous conversations; he starts right up with some explicit sexy texts. I told him I needed him to take my questions about expectations seriously, and if he didn't want to do that right now we should both just go to sleep. He then responds with 'Oh my god. Let's just not. This is kinda crazy. Have a good night/day, etc."

The next day he sends a text saying we should say good-bye; I agree, stating that I although I am disappointed this shouldn't be so hard. I told him I was looking for someone who is available for dating and eventually a relationship if things go well, and it didn't seem he was looking for the same - at least not with me. He shot back a few angry-ish texts along the lines of him being available most of the time except these few weeks, and that it had only been one date, and that this was kind of crazy and he was put off by it.

Those last texts have really left me questioning my actions - am I to blame here? Was I too impatient? This whole texting debacle took place over two weeks, in which it seems that even if he was really busy if he had wanted to see me he could have made it happen. Was I sending mixed messages by engaging in the sexy talk? I was thinking I was being open and honest about my excitement for him (which is hard for me to do) but I didn't think I was getting too far ahead of myself. And yes, I know that text communication is NOT a good idea in these situations, although I really had no other option here seeing as he wouldn't pick up the phone or actually, you know, see me in person.

Basically, how should I have handled this better?

Finally, should I expect to come across more men like this in the future? Come on strong, lots of flowery words, then fizzle? Honestly, this was the most 'exciting' date I've been on in a long long time and we had pretty incredible chemistry - which I am now thinking I should not be so quick to trust. Clearly, we were NOT a good match as this much drama is not okay with me.
posted by mini apple to Human Relations (49 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This was pretty accurate: ..."it had only been one date, and that this was kind of crazy and he was put off by it." The drama, telling him to take your questions about expectations seriously, and expressing your disappointment in him was a lot after just one date.

I think a good rule of thumb in these situations is texting/emailing isn't dating. Dating is dating. Let it unfold at it's own pace and if you aren't happy with that speed, find someone else. Trying to force it so early rarely leads anywhere good.
posted by cecic at 9:45 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think it was your fault at all, from what I can tell (exactly how the conversations transpired is unclear). But I think it all sounds absurd, especially since this was all after one date. I don't think it was your fault, it seems like both of you played it this way. Also, though this may be unrealistic, it's my belief that when you start dating someone, on Okcupid, or wherever, you should refrain from texting unless absolutely necessary. I feel that situations have a strong tendency to devolve into the absurd when texting is involved (over the course of one conversation, or weeks, or whatever). This is especially likely if you don't know the other person very well.

Oh, and I would have been disappointed in him too. He was bad news from the start if he would tell you he wanted to meet and cancel within 10 minutes. You're right it shouldn't be that hard.
posted by Blitz at 9:51 PM on December 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't think there's really any substitute for real, in-person interaction. In my experience, e-mailing and texting tend to lead to drama because it's so hard to really communicate well that way. I don't know why that is, but it sure seems to be so. So I would try to arrange real dates so that you have a sort of baseline communication going between you BEFORE you do a lot of texting.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:52 PM on December 12, 2013


The fact that he kept canceling on you and putting you off makes me feel like he just has issues. The fact that "it was only one date" isn't really your fault.
posted by bleep at 9:52 PM on December 12, 2013 [40 favorites]


This guy is weird and sees you as filling some strange sexual role. He is not treating you like a woman he wants to be with, in a relationship. Who cares what's going through his mind other than that? People are weird, but he's sending you strange signals...I too hate a dude who is flaky like that. Just means he isn't that into you, honestly.
posted by rhythm_queen at 9:54 PM on December 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


You asked for a commitment for a date and he was unwilling to commit. You aren't at fault here and you didn't ask for anything unreasonable.
posted by gt2 at 9:57 PM on December 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yes, the repeated cancelling and jumping to the conclusion that you aren't interested in him (low self-esteem?) aren't good signs. And it sure sounds like he was just fine with flirting over text but wasn't actually willing to arrange things to see you--that's a deal breaker right there. And that shit happens a LOT with online dating; lots of guys who want to play around and flirt or are married or otherwise committed.. Ask me how I know that.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:58 PM on December 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yeah, it's incredibly weird that he kept putting you off, and acted surprised on more than one occasion when you reiterated your interest in seeing him again. If he was a stable, healthy guy with a genuine interest/capacity in dating you for real, he most certainly would have followed through on making a real second date, at a real time and real place. The fact that he kept refusing to do so suggests Major Issues, and -- as weird and as unsettling as this no doubt is -- that you almost certainly dodged a bullet with this guy.

That said: texting, like everyone says, is seriously not good for communicating anything at all beyond simple facts/requests like "I'm running 10 minutes late" or "please pick up milk on the way home." It's certainly not good for anything complex or nuanced, especially when you're just getting to know someone. Save the sexy texts and in-jokes and the like when you actually know each other a little better. Otherwise, it can give the illusion of connection or intimacy where there really isn't any.

Anyway, sorry that this is sucking right now. But you're well rid of the dude, for real.
posted by scody at 10:02 PM on December 12, 2013 [28 favorites]


He's just an asshole with some issues, is what happened.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:06 PM on December 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


Reading this, I was actually surprised that you kept saying you wanted to date the guy. I'd have let him go after "the second or third time" the late-night "let's hang out wait not really" thing happened. Right there it's pretty plain that he's doing something strange and/or jerky, and after only one date and some weeks of texting, I wouldn't have felt invested enough to give him another chance. All the drama after that was extraneous in my view.

You also say you told him, "Get in touch when you're not so busy and we'll make plans to get together." And then you engaged in a couple of weeks of flirty/sexy texting. You could have chosen to cut short those weeks without contact, especially since he hadn't given you an endpoint for his busyness, but instead you stayed available to him whether he met with you in person or not. It's perfectly reasonable to say, "You know, I'm not comfortable continuing this without seeing each other in person again. When can that happen?" And then, if the guy puts you off, or is vague, or sets a time but cancels, you can say, "Sorry it didn't work out. Nice knowing you," and move on.

It's so easy to get caught up and keep hoping for the best. But in my experience strange things like this early in a relationship, or other red flags, have never turned out to inconsequential blips that you laugh about later. They have, on the contrary, always been an accurate predictor of drama, emotional roller-coasters, and pain. I think you had several opportunities to exit the ride sooner than you did, and in the future you'll probably feel better if you take those opportunities.
posted by not that girl at 10:12 PM on December 12, 2013 [42 favorites]


90% likelyhood this guy had a girlfriend or some other mitigating circumstances. This is in fact quite common in online dating. You have learned a valuable lesson: beware the semi-catfish. If a guy cancels on you twice, back off and move on.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:33 PM on December 12, 2013 [45 favorites]


My experience of online dating has shown me that weird people act weird and it's actually really helpful when they do that from the beginning. If a person is doing something that seems odd or makes you feel uncomfortable or similar, then your feelings are almost certainly right about it and you will almost certainly be better off letting it go.

For whatever reason, it appears that this guy was not being entirely open or clear with you. Maybe he got a bit caught up in it and wasn't sure how he felt either, but you will likely never find out.

I think it's important to remember that good (for you) people will act well from the beginning and things will be (at least mainly) clear and obvious and progress in a way that feels comfortable and exciting and fun. If it's not happening like that then it's not right for you.
posted by mewsic at 10:49 PM on December 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's a flake. Flag it and move on.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:58 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weirdly sexy late night texts = drunk, more often than not.
posted by fshgrl at 11:07 PM on December 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


What scody said.

Also read that book "He's just not that into you." Then read the book "Attached." When a guy is interested, it is pretty clear. You won't wait weeks for a 2nd date. This guy is an intimacy-avoider; learn to spot them early and then walk on by, no 2nd glances or chances.

Finally cut down the texting. Explicit texts from a 1-dater? Yuck!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:26 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


this guy came on strong, and I was totally into it. He was assertive, charming, extremely good-looking, and seemingly very into me!

Finally, should I expect to come across more men like this in the future? Come on strong, lots of flowery words, then fizzle?

in my experience the above were definitely signs of players. yes, they tend to come on very strong and try to charm you, but if you didn't give them what they were looking for, or if you did, they fizzled quickly because it seems it was all about the conquest. kinda sad really. beware of the ones who want to sweep you off your feet by last tuesday. they can really do a number on you. i think the only thing you could have done differently was when you told him the first time you wanted to go on a real date would have been to back off on the sexy texts and wait for that offer of a date. in general, i'd avoid texting, especially sexy texts, as much as possible at the beginning of dating if you are looking for a relationship.
posted by wildflower at 11:33 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Come on strong, lots of flowery words, then fizzle? Honestly, this was the most 'exciting' date I've been on in a long long time and we had pretty incredible chemistry

This pops out at me, because it makes me think this was just a classic "whirlwind romance," just at warp speed. In which case -- yes, you should beware people who push for too much, too fast, because usually they're just testing to see if they *can* get you (for their own reasons/issues), and once they do, they dip out.

Due to his odd scheduling and his inability to talk on the phone even when he clearly had his phone with him, I also second the idea that he probably has a girlfriend.

I don't think you were the one who ruined things, though -- because of what he was bringing to the table, there was no way this was going to turn out well.
posted by rue72 at 11:42 PM on December 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


He then responds with surprise, stating that he thought I would have probably hooked up on my vacation or that I had been seeing someone recently, then repeatedly makes statements along the lines of 'that would be kinda hot. Too bad.'

Player. Would be willing to bet a hot Christmas dinner that he was essentially telling you what he was doing, and was fishing for you to admit to having other dates so he could talk you into something on the side.

In case that sounds crazy – it's from personal experience as well as experiences of friends. In the context of monogamous dating desires, "oh, if you had hooked up without telling me, that would be kinda hot" is a red flag on fire.
posted by fraula at 11:55 PM on December 12, 2013 [35 favorites]


'Oh my god. Let's just not. This is kinda crazy. Have a good night/day, etc."

There was an article a month or so ago about how many men use the term 'crazy' to describe women, when the woman is usually making quite reasonable demands. By labelling them as 'crazy', the man reassures himself that he was perfectly sensible, and the woman was irrational or mad or ridiculous. And, often, women will try to be less 'crazy' and demanding afterwards.

You're not crazy, and you weren't acting so. He was being vague and deliberately coy and didn't want you to stop the sexy test text thing you had going on. You were perfectly reasonable to ask for something definite. He's a flake who presumably had his own reasons for wanting someone just for flirty texts and nothing else. In future, I'd say end communication with his sort sooner.
posted by twirlypen at 1:39 AM on December 13, 2013 [36 favorites]


Oh, and I just saw your title - no, you didn't 'spill your crazy' on him. That's exactly what he wanted you to think, and it's absolutely incorrect.
posted by twirlypen at 1:44 AM on December 13, 2013 [22 favorites]


Sounds like a player. You're well clear of him.
posted by angrycat at 2:16 AM on December 13, 2013


Guys who won't agree to a second date, but invite you to "hang out" on the fly, are just looking to hook up. If you're not looking for casual sex, decline all same-day hang-out invitations.

You're absolutely not crazy. He wanted something different from you, wasn't clear with you about it, and then got petulant when you stood up for yourself. Not a great guy.

Unfortunately, exciting dates are not a predictor of long-term compatibility. They're better than the dates that instantly fizzle, but you still need more than one night to figure out of you'll get along.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:23 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


IT was a little weird to ask for his serious consideration after 2 weeks of texting. I feel like your biggest mistake was not seeing the red flags sooner, those being him only communicating by text, cancelling on you after 10 minutes, only talking late night sexy, etc.

I HAAATTTEEEE talking on the phone, but still every meaningful relationship I've had has at least had (very awkward) phone call communication and lots of in person time. He didn't want to give you this and you should have moved on sooner. I know you had chemistry, but online dating is a numbers game and you can't hang around and wait for an issues guy to get over issues especially if those issues become apparent in a week.

Also, I Nth the people who get teh feeling he has a girlfriend and was looking for side action or something.

Don't worry, you'll find better.
posted by WeekendJen at 3:45 AM on December 13, 2013


This is exactly how a guy I met on okc (who met and began dating another girl that he liked better during the same timeframe we were exchanging emails/trying to arrange busy schedules, mostly mine, for meeting up). He tried to keep me around as a backup for late-night horny phone/chat stuff as long as he could, including emphatic invitations to come over at 3am for sex, but after a few weeks of not getting a straight answer about when he wanted to get together, I went looking, and mutual friends were able to clue me in about the other girl. Initially it was the timing, but then he decided he wanted to try getting away with acting like a dick. So yeah, ditto what others (esp Metroid Baby) are saying.
posted by notquitemaryann at 4:37 AM on December 13, 2013


Crazy? No. Intense? — likely. He picked up on the following:

-You were devoting considerable attention to him ...after 1 date
- you conveyed to him you have no other dates from OKC
- you wanted to have an "expectations" talk with him ...after 1 date
- you were always available

These things made him realize you were not the kind of person he was seeking.
posted by Kruger5 at 4:51 AM on December 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow everyone, thanks for your input. Just to be clear, as a few people have mentioned this - my expectations question was not about a relationship. I was asking him if I could expect a second date out of this situation or if we were just going to text forever. When I asked him to take that seriously I was simply asking him to answer that question instead of send sex texts. He may have interpreted that in a more relationshippy way, as it seems some of you have as well. Oh well, doesn't really matter now. Definitely backing off on texting with dates from here on out!
posted by mini apple at 5:19 AM on December 13, 2013


I guess two or three things may apply here, solo, or in combinations:

1) He maybe found some other lady while you were away (or he had various quote unquote options up his sleeve when he met you, and used the time you were away to make up his mind).
2) He's the jealous type, and assumed that you went and found yourself someone else (perhaps even assumed that your "being away" wasn't real - what do I know…)
3) He has some attachment-fobia issues which always only show themselves at 'stage two' (whatever that might be in his world) and so he quit as soon as his adrenaline kicked in.

No matter. Sure, you might have been pretty straightforward in your communication (can't judge, haven't watched…) but you don't seem unreasonable; if he was put off by whatever you wrote him, you guys wouldn't have been a good match anyway.
He, on the other hand, appears to be chicken material, not least when it comes to informing you what's really going on in his mind/life, and hence preferably droppable anyway.
posted by Namlit at 5:56 AM on December 13, 2013


I just want to second twirlypen and turn it into a rule for online dating.

Any guy who uses the word crazy to describe you or other women (including ex-girlfriends) is not a good person to date.

It's true that instituting this as a universal dealbreaker might mean missing out on one or two decent but clueless guys, but for the most part...nope. A guy who can't discuss the kind of relationship behavior that makes him uncomfortable without deploying this kind of super nasty and loaded term doesn't have the communication skills to make him a worthy adult partner.

What's great about OKCupid, though, is that you can filter for exactly this.

Q: Would you describe any of the people you've dated in the past as "crazy"?

Define the answer to this question as very important to you and see what happens.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:30 AM on December 13, 2013 [19 favorites]


People who can't or won't set up a date with you are people who can't find time to get away from their SO. I learned that by hard experience.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:51 AM on December 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


He wasn't able to see you for TWO WEEKS after you got back, but he was able to text you sexy texts late at night?

He's so obviously dating someone else. That he was free to text, but not talk, tells me he lives with the person.

- You should have ignored him after you got home and he couldn't even make time to see you for a cup of coffee - damn!!

- Texting (or emailing) that much with someone you've met online w/out also seeing them a lot in-person, too, is a giant red neon flag the other person is bullshit and has issues.
----

All that said, you're not crazy, just inexperienced with all the wackados you have to weed through when online dating.

Hold your head high and carry on...
posted by jbenben at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


Basically, how should I have handled this better?

When he said he was going to be busy for the next few weeks but didn't give any indication of when that could be expected to clear up, that was a sign that he was unreliable in a way that almost certainly wasn't going to work for you. People are busy, it happens, but if he really wanted to see you, he could have either found some time or given you a rough picture of why he was so busy and consequently when he expected that to clear up. So that was where I personally would have shuffled this guy way the hell down my list of priorities, at least. So that was the first sign.

Cue flirty/sexy texting over the next couple weeks. This escalates to sexy/explicit texting (initiated by him but I can play along, and it was fun). He consistently apologized about having a busy schedule but neglected to give me any idea when that schedule would clear up. Eventually this whole late-night invitation to 'hang out' cycle starts back up. Each time we get to the point where I am just about ready to walk out the door, then he says never mind, that it's not a good idea. After the second or third time this happened, I told him that I did want to see him again, but this last minute late-night negotiation was tough for me to manage (it was a little out of my comfort zone, on top of which it really doesn't feel great to get all excited and then rejected in the span of 10 minutes) and I requested that he find a date/time he was available for a date and ask me in advance.

This was the next sign and it should have been the last one. The fact that he was only willing to see you late at night and then rescinded the invitation immediately after? Fuck that. He's on some shady shit.

Did that happen? No. During yet another one of these exchanges (which were all via text....ugh....) I tried calling. He didn't answer, saying he didn't want to talk. I then responded by saying I wanted to see him, but at a time we both had time and energy rather than late at night when we both had work in the morning. To which he replied that he has no free time, this is it, and maybe we shouldn't talk anymore as he's sure I have plenty of other dates from 'that thing' (meaning OK Cupid).

If the previous sign didn't tip you off, this should have. When he said maybe you shouldn't talk anymore, if I were you I'd have taken him up on it.

The next day he sends a text saying we should say good-bye; I agree, stating that I although I am disappointed this shouldn't be so hard. I told him I was looking for someone who is available for dating and eventually a relationship if things go well, and it didn't seem he was looking for the same - at least not with me. He shot back a few angry-ish texts along the lines of him being available most of the time except these few weeks, and that it had only been one date, and that this was kind of crazy and he was put off by it.

Here's how you could have handled this differently: Postmortems are for long-term relationships, if that. They're not for people with whom you've gone on one date and sexted a bunch. Your mistake here was that it really should have just gone like this:

"The next day he sends a text saying we should say good-bye; I agree."

That's it. Don't tell him about your disappointment. Don't go over the ways he fell short. Once you decide you're done with someone, be done with them. Don't try to land that big zinger that lets him know what a son of a bitch he is. It's pointless and will only draw out a bad situation. Just go.

And yes, I know that text communication is NOT a good idea in these situations, although I really had no other option here seeing as he wouldn't pick up the phone or actually, you know, see me in person.

You did have another option: Don't text him. If you had something to say to him and you knew it was a bad idea to say it in text, wait to say it in person. If he won't pick up the phone ever - I'm sorry, I know there are people who completely hate talking on the phone and I'm not always a fan of it either, but that's a warning sign to me.

Anyway.

Honestly, I think the guy had a girlfriend. That's just what it sounds like to me. He was on the creep and you were not letting him get his hammer wet and then bounce, so he called you crazy. Crazy is what we call crazy people, sure, but it's also what assholes who call people who stand in the way of the asshole getting to do whatever they want whenever they want.

So let's talk about your other questions. Your account of the situation does not make it sound like you came on too strong or any of that. I honestly think the only mistake you made was to let him treat you disrespectfully for as long as he did. This is something that comes with experience, but basically if someone is a ditherer, just walk away and leave them to it. It'll be better for you in the long run.

If someone's into you and they're not playing you, they won't give you nebulous timeframes. They'll make an effort to see you and make time for you, or they'll be able to explain when they expect to stop being so busy. If it's all uncertainties and whatnot, the chances are good that they're talking about how busy they are as a way of covering their ass when they turn out to be unreliable and just want a booty call.

Finally, should I expect to come across more men like this in the future?

Yeah. You'll also come across men who aren't like this. Let yourself be excited about a guy, if he's exciting, but don't confuse desire with trust. Trust builds slowly. Respect yourself and demand the same of other people, and you'll be okay. Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:43 AM on December 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think one of the keys to online dating is to stop caring why the other person is doing what they're doing and start focusing on what you want.

You want a guy would doesn't booty call you then back out the last minute, who has time, beyond exceptional circumstances, to actually go on dates with you and who doesn't call you crazy for attempting to clarify what's going on.

None of those things are crazy, needy, clingy or unreasonable. It's reasonable to expect someone who is online dating to have time to see you and its reasonable to expect them not to repeatedly cancel.

Listen to your gut. These are people you barely know they don't deserve a huge amount of slack when they treat you poorly.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:47 AM on December 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think, all things being equal, it's wise for a hetero woman to be a bit "harder to get" than you were.

In this case, you put yourself out there and gave him all the power and he exploited it, strung you along, messed with your mind.

He sounds like a creep with voyeurustic/pervert tendencies. This is the giveaway: "He then responds with surprise, stating that he thought I would have probably hooked up on my vacation or that I had been seeing someone recently, then repeatedly makes statements along the lines of 'that would be kinda hot. Too bad.' "

Thinking it would be hot to learn you'd been hooking up with other guys? That shows that he was considering you as nothing more than an object of his late-night fantasies. He's a creep who had the gall to act like you disappointed him by not living up to some fantasy of you being slutty. Be glad you're rid of this loser.
posted by jayder at 8:06 AM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


This smells to me-- with the last-minute cancellations, not talking on the phone-- like he's married.

Nope, none of this is your fault. It's not impatient to hope to have a 2nd date with someone within a couple weeks of the 1st. And you should not expect this to be the norm with other guys in the future. Single guys are eager to go on 2nd dates after a good 1st one.
posted by Asparagus at 8:10 AM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think one of the keys to online dating is to stop caring why the other person is doing what they're doing and start focusing on what you want.

1,000x this. There is wonderful insight here about this particular guy, so I won't go over that. (Except to say that the "coming on strong" was a huge red flag as those kinds of situations always ended badly when I was dating. Beware these types. They are working from a script and who you are doesn't really matter to them.)

What jumped out to me in your question was you 1) trying to mind-read this guy and 2) letting him set all the terms for the interactions between you.

I would take this as an opportunity to step back and think about what YOU want. How do you want dating a new person to go? What kind of availability suits you? What are your boundaries for texting, setting up meetings, other person canceling meetings?

When you have a strong sense of these things, you can go forward and date more, and feel not guilt or doubt when you cut losers like this off as soon as they start their bullshit.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't have any advice on this situation except to say pretty much what my mother always says: When people show you who they are, believe them.

I've been in this situation before, down to the sexy texts and no real dates, and looking back, it's really clear that he wanted to have his ego (and maybe some other things) stroked but not much more. I can see now that the guy showed me who he was and what he wanted right from the start, but I he ticked so many of my boxes, that I didn't (want to) believe him. The guy found a full-time girlfriend not long after I decided to stop playing along, and of course, he tried to initiate sexy texts with me again a few weeks into that new relationshio, when the novelty had worn off. Yeuch.

Next time, have the confidence to listen to the voice inside that tells you something's not right. If you feel that they aren't treating you the way you want them to at the very beginning, when you'd expect them to be trying to show you their best side, then how's that going to feel six months down the line?
posted by pootler at 9:21 AM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


To be honest, I would be turned off by talks of "expectations" after only one date, regardless of our communication frequency (and non-physical intimacy level)... this is the time to have fun and get to know each other before committing!

Move on from this guy... if he wanted a second date with you, he would have made the time.
posted by mrrisotto at 9:22 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Squeak Attack's comment is right on the money. Yes, figure out what you want and go for that, cut bait as soon as this obnoxious game playing begins, and don't try to mind read because there's really no telling what's going on.

The older I get, the more I realize that many, many apparently functional middle-class people are really sick, sexually speaking, engaging in shockingly manipulative, twisted, degrading behaviors toward other people ... and I'm not talking about "kink," I'm talking about people behaving sociopathically. Because they will do their best to conceal this conduct from you, you have to be alert for the "tells" that something isn't right. In this case, the tells would be the sexual texting after just one non-sexual date, combined with the weird invites followed by quick, flaky cancellations, and the admission (after just one date!) of fantasizing about you hooking up with other people.
posted by jayder at 9:24 AM on December 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


He's so obviously dating someone else. That he was free to text, but not talk, tells me he lives with the person.

This a thousand times. This isn't you - and I think once you're into explicit sexy texts, it's beyond just "first date".
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe instead of looking for someone who wants to take dating seriously, you should be looking for someone awesome?

Because this guy stopped being awesome as soon as this happened: "He was initially surprised, stating he didn't think I had been that into things (I should note this is the second time he had made a remark upon those lines.)"

Everything after that is just further confirmation of his lack of awesome. But I feel like you were blinded to that because a) you treated your own reserved nature as a fault rather than an asset and b) you are looking for someone who will take dating seriously, rather than someone awesome.

Watch out! This guy is an asshole who is not interested in taking dating seriously. BUT there are plenty of assholes who ARE willing to take dating seriously. The key is not misconstruing serious dating intentions with CHARACTER.

Look for awesome. The dating will follow.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 10:02 AM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


You are not to blame for anything except maybe giving this guy more chances and continuing to talk with him after lots of bad behavior on his part.

Rules of Thumb for Internet Dating:

1. Never get attached before the first date. Be friendly, talk about hobbies and work, but no sexual flirting and nothing deeply personal. Emails, calls and texts should be brief.

2. Be cautious of anyone who comes on really strong on the first date, unless you are looking for a fling. I'm not saying that's always a bad thing, but it's not unusual for a hot-and-heavy first date to morph into radio silence.

3. If you are interested after the first date, it's fine to follow up and say so. Then the ball is in his court. If he fumbles, walk away. A man who does not make plans with you after you make your interest clear is not worth your time. In your case it made sense to follow up again after your trip, but when he wasn't able to make firm plans you should have put him behind you and looked for new dates.

4. Assume the people you meet on the internet are meeting other people on the internet until you have a conversation about exclusivity.

5. Be cautious of guys who want to send you sexy texts before you have actually been sexual with them. Also be cautious of guys who want to send you sexy texts but don't make actual plans to meet up with you.

6. If he keeps coming up with reasons he can't see you, walk the fuck away. You deserve to be with someone who can be with you right now and who is willing to meet you half way.

7. There's a great line from a Jane Austen book - I think Emma. "Let his behavior be your guide." In other words, notice what he is actually doing. If he is not showing you with his behavior that he is a man of character and interested in getting to know you, walk away.
posted by bunderful at 10:11 AM on December 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


@jayder has it: "it's wise for a hetero woman to be a bit "harder to get" than you were."

To avoid married players in the future, you need to do a lot less, and tone it down several notches. Respond, not react. Sit on your hands more when the late night sexy time texts fly with someone you've just met (unless that's your thing, of course).

I don't normally recommend this book, but it definitely sounds like All The Rules (don't hate) was written for extroverted hetero women a lot like yourself. You'll find it useful for working on your presentation and giving you some guidelines for texting. (or on preview, very similar to what the commenter above me just recommended!) Ignore the stuff that makes you roll your eyes, because there is some very sound advice in there: the main message is love yourself enough to have higher standards and don't take anymore shit from assy men.
posted by hush at 10:15 AM on December 13, 2013


This is my read on your play-by-play:

Now, about 6 weeks ago I went on a great first date - this guy came on strong, and I was totally into it. He was assertive, charming, extremely good-looking, and seemingly very into me! We had lots of laughs, flirting, and a pretty hot goodnight kiss.

Situation was looking good, but the events of your first date doesn't mean that much judged by itself. Whether or not things are good depends on how consistently well things go. This means, more dates, or some form of respectful communication. You were fine here though.

... the evening before I left, I ... extended an invitation for him to hang out ... He declined due to the late hour but expressed regret ...

Still okay, nothing to worry about. Still perfectly normal.

When I returned home I let him know that I was excited about getting to know him better, and asked him when/if he was available for another date. He was initially surprised, stating he didn't think I had been that into things...

Perfectly normal behaviour on your part, and surprising but not completely unreasonable thoughts expressed by him. He did express interest in you before you left, but I'm thinking both of you didn't email or keep in touch while you were overseas? So he assumed you found someone else. And this is where I began to suspect he lost interest in you. Why? Because if he was interested, he would be pleasantly surprised you were in contact, and allocate some time for you to call or meet in person, no matter how far into the future. But there is still not enough information to conclude anything. And so I read on...

I again reiterated that I was looking forward to seeing him and that he should get in touch when things were a little less crazy for him.

This was perfectly reasonable of you to give him space and state your intentions clearly. From this point onwards, you will be able to tell very clearly whether or not he has interest. Does he give you respectful attention? Does he take you out for dates and treat you with respect, as potential partner material? My thought process here would be: If he sets up a date, or opens lines of respectful communication with you despite his busy schedule, you MAY have a chance. If this does not happen, no harm and I would be on my way.

Cue flirty/sexy texting over the next couple weeks. This escalates to sexy/explicit texting (initiated by him but I can play along, and it was fun)...

Game over. He doesn't want to date you. He is probably a player. He sounds like a shit friend too. At this point, I would just regard him as a casual acquaintance (if even that), and make him extremely low-priority. If you found someone else suitable to date, you could absolutely begin it at this time. I mean, this loser keeps sexting you, and yet he is too busy to even call and afford even a mealtime to go meet up. Urgh. What a disgusting person.

Everything that happened after that continued to confirm my opinion of him as either a player or someone who did not want to date you. If I were in your situation, I would stop communicating with him. Other than your continued communication with him, I think you did fine.

Was I sending mixed messages by engaging in the sexy talk? I was thinking I was being open and honest about my excitement for him (which is hard for me to do) ...

Yes, you were. Don't do that until you're official. He took it as a cue you were down for just sex or being FWBs. It's difficult to dig yourself out of this category unless you're already a girlfriend. But your honesty and openness is a very, very good trait to have. If what you want is a relationship, you're right, don't accept men who offer you less than a proper shot at a relationship. You don't need to give them too many chances. If you guys were meant to be together, he would treat you with respect and as a person -- whether as a friend or a potential girlfriend.

And yes, I know that text communication is NOT a good idea in these situations, although I really had no other option here seeing as he wouldn't pick up the phone or actually, you know, see me in person.

am I to blame here? Was I too impatient?...

You're not to blame here. You knew, earlier than you consciously admit I suspect, that he wasn't interested in more than a FWB-type deal. You're not crazy either, you're just too nice. You didn't want to act in a way that calls out his rubbish behaviour. In the future, just make a mental note to drop every potential date back down to casual friends when they don't treat you with respect and as a potential date.

It's not about being mean or being a bitch or not giving enough chances or whatever, it's just that as women (and people, really), we don't need to take shit from anyone.
posted by rozaine at 11:15 AM on December 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


You've been given many examples of red flags by this guy so I won't reiterate those again. I have been doing online dating recently and have experienced bits and pieces of some of the things you've described.

I got a visceral experience just reading your description of this guy. There are a lot of shitbags that are doing the online dating thing. This guy is not looking for a relationship. If he were, he would not behave in the way you described. Any guy that deserved to have a relationship with you would actually ask you out in a proper fashion, in advance, and treat you like a lady.

DTMFA.

On preview, everything everybody else said.
posted by strelitzia at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I just realized you already dumped his ass. Good decision.
posted by strelitzia at 1:04 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just as an assurance, it seemed absolutely crystal clear to me from reading your question that when you asked him what you could expect, you were referring to the possibility of a physical second date, a completely reasonable and non weird request. To be honest I feel like the people who seem to think you were requesting his hand in marriage or for him to commit to some sort of relationship are really not reading very carefully.

To echo many others though, he sounds like a flake who's likely already in a relationship and just wanted a little strange. The wanting you to come over and then changing his mind ten minutes later and the comment about it being hot if you had hooked up with someone else are giant red flags for that.
posted by katyggls at 2:42 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's OkCupid. It was one date. You are over thinking this by a factor of a million. Lesson for the future: Don't get so wrapped up in someone after one date and a lot of texting. If you are online dating, you've got plenty of options.

Get out there and date someone else. None of this is worth thinking about as much as you already have.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 8:44 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


That guy is a weirdo. It's like you thought you had a decent fish on the line but reeled in a soggy old boot. that happens. Laugh it off. Throw him back, and continue the sometimes gruesome, depressing fishing trip that is dating men in the modern age.

Also, you shouldn't second guess yourself. He's the weird one, soggy boot not fish guy. Good for you for figuring it out fast.
posted by discopolo at 11:35 PM on December 13, 2013


The only thing I'd do differently in this situation is consider not going on a date with someone right before you leave for a long trip.

I did OKcupid for a while a few years ago, and every time I went on a date right before being gone for a couple weeks (I was travelling a bunch for work), there was weirdness. I got in the habit of cooling off with messaging and etc right before I'd leave for a trip to avoid the situation.

That having been said, when I did meet someone we had our first date right before we were collectively out of the country for about 4 weeks, so, well. (But I had known him for 8 months at that point, met through friends instead of OKcupid, which I had given up on for unrelated reasons months before).
posted by nat at 1:11 AM on December 14, 2013


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