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How do I get the whole dating an old flame thing right?
March 23, 2014 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Hi! After being in a really bad relationship for three years, I broke free before christmas. Over the last year I have sort of been texting with and old flame I datet 4 years ago. It was very intense for 3 months, but then it crashed and burned. She got single before christmas as well after being with a guy for three years. I`m 28. She`s 25.

Two weeks ago we went out for a drink. It was really nice. Talked for three hours. Then I went of skiing for a week. Came back and we spent the sunday together driving around where I live to look at stuff and talk. The next day we went skiing. Three days later we walked my new dog for a couple of hours. It is really nice. We talk really well. But on texting and stuff she is kinda weird. She will text me. Ill answer and she wouldn`t answer for hours. She initiates contact, but then fade of. The texts are really nice and flirty. I have no idea what I am doing. I didn`t plan on doing anything other than being single for a while, but we have a very good chemistry. I really like her. She is funny, sweet, kind and smart. Seems she is very curious about what this is, but at the same time very restrickted. She is very recently single. We havent done anything other than hug when we meet. But that may be normal. I am usually more of a one night stand kinda guy. Except for my last relationship, I have always been more of a hooking up kinda guy. I have never done the whole taking it slow and seeing whats happening kinda thing.

I am terrified about thinking this to death. I dont want to rush her either. I just want to spend time with her.

We are going skiing together this weekend again (daytrip). She wants me to teach her to ski. I am really good at skiing. She is absolutely not. How do I play my cards right. How do I know if shes interested. I dont want to ask her. How do I play it cool and keep her curious about me?
posted by silvershadow to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's interesting to me that you don't describe the circumstances of your previous relationship with this woman at all, here. How long did you date? What was the dynamic like? How did you get together then? Why did you break up? Was it mutual/amicable? Since you were together, have you been friends?

It seems really strange that you, who have already dated her in the past and should sort of know the lay of the land, are asking us, a group of internet strangers who don't know you guys at all, whether this woman is into you or what and how to proceed.

The whole thing hinges on your prior relationship, in my opinion. There are some long-ago exes I could potentially reconnect with. I also have an ex who is my kryptonite, and another where the history is so toxic it wouldn't matter how good at skiing they were. It really, really depends on you two and the specific water that has passed under your specific bridge.
posted by Sara C. at 5:10 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Sara C. is right about needing more details about your previous relationship with this woman. That said, here are some tips:

We are going skiing together this weekend again (daytrip). She wants me to teach her to ski. I am really good at skiing. She is absolutely not. How do I play my cards right.

The best thing to do to show your interest without overwhelming her will be to flirt during this trip. Don't be pushy about it, but show you want to be more than friends with her by using body language (gentle, casual, and appropriate physical contact) and other cues (such as flirty jokes and "romantic" (but please not over the top!) actions). Teaching someone how to do something is usually a great way to flirt...think of all of those movie and TV scenes where Person A teaches Person B to play pool, for example.

How do I know if shes interested.

You should know this based on how she responds to the above. If she balks, back off. If she responds positively, you can continue with the flirting.

I dont want to ask her.

That's a shame. Because, while asking is awkward and can be unpleasant, it is the quickest and most reliable way to determine how someone feels about you.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:17 PM on March 23


Why did your original fling with her crash and burn and why do you feel things will go differently this time around? That's an extremely important question to ask yourself!

If she keeps going out with you, she's probably interested. But I think maybe you're interested in sex and keeping your options open, and you really need to ask yourself now if that's what she's signing up for, too. Is SHE "not a relationship" kind of person?

I get this vibe from your question that you're confused. You like her, it's nice, but you kinda just want her to make the moves and the effort, you're not sure if you want long-term yet, blah blah, it's all just a swirling, confusing miasma of emotions, isn't it?

Dude, not to be crass, but nut up. It's time. You're 28. Decide what you want and go after it. I can't tell you what you really want. Neither can anyone else. You need to make choices, take responsibility for them, and accept the consequences in life.
posted by quincunx at 5:19 PM on March 23


I understand that you ask. I am partly asking you because I dont want to talk to my friends about this. I want to see where this is going before I tell people I am seeing her again.

As i wrote, we datet for three months. We were in class togheter for a semester. I noticed her long before she noticed me, and went out of my way to find ways for us to meet to I could get to know her. After I while we started dating, and it was very passionate and we did everything together. I courted her for a while before that. I think I could a bit to overexcited about her actually dating me (didnt have the best selfconfidance back then) and that gave her cold feet by always being there and wanting the relationshop to much. I had always had a romantic idea about finding the one, and went all in. Trying to be everything she wanted etc etc. I reckon I pushed her without wanting to. But we remained friendly, and it was always nice to meet her and talk if I passed her on the street. But other than that, we didnt talk much, other than wishing each other merry christmas. Last year I met her at a store, and we talked for a bit. Then she texted me, and we continued texting a lot up to christmas 2013.

Thing is, because I know I sort of pushed her away the last time I dont want to do that again. I am not in this for the sex. Not to sound like a douchebag, but I have never had problems with getting girls to bed. I know this contradicts what I wrote about having a low selfasteem, but that related more to a girl actually liking me when she got to know me. Not the first impression you meet out on the town.

But this girl always seemed different. She makes me feel really good about myself. I am relaxed and love spending time with her. We have probably matured a lot both of us since last time to, and I just want to take it slow and see what happens. But I dont want to end up as "just a friend".
posted by silvershadow at 5:27 PM on March 23


Well, in that case, I should tell you my mode of operation for these things, as a chick:

I have a window (god I hope this doesn't sound like pua speak I feel like it kind of does god) in which I am open to romantic advances. After a while, the window shuts and that's that. He's a friend. So I suggest you don't take things so incredibly slowly that you lose your "window." But maybe not jump right into anything either. So yeah, do as schroedingersgirl's says and flirt enough to make it clear you're interested, but don't make any bold declarations just yet.
posted by quincunx at 5:35 PM on March 23


From personal experience, it's usually a bad sign when the person who liked the other person more in the first place is the one who wants to rekindle things. You already did this, she already felt smothered, you already mutually decided that a relationship between the two of you was not going to work.

Frankly, short of her throwing some heavy and obvious signs your way, I would not assume she intends anything romantic at all. It is highly likely that you already are "just a friend".

One thing you could do is to make an unambiguous move and see what her reaction is. Ask her on a date. Kiss her. Something like that. If it doesn't go over well, it's not going to work, period. And then you know.

Also, it is VERY likely that to the extent that she's into you, it's as a rebound fling. I would proceed with extreme caution in terms of any ideas about a serious romantic relationship.
posted by Sara C. at 5:37 PM on March 23


It sounds possible that she's putting you a bit on ice because the last time you came on too strong/intense. I'd also be curious to know if she's aware that you're a self-described "one night stand kinda guy".

How do I play it cool and keep her curious about me?
I think I understand what you're trying to do here -but don't. She may read your "playing it cool" as not interested. You can demonstrate interest without escalating the relationship artificially.

However, I should point out that I'm not exactly sure what you want with this girl. Are you?
posted by sm1tten at 5:38 PM on March 23


Last time we had a thing a partied a lot. I was a social centre at uni. and sort of knew everybody. And was sort of sleeping around a lot before we started having a thing. I think she knows that. (i never slept with anyone else while we had a thing). This time I`m not doing that. Im mostly renovating my flat, drinking some beers with my mates or go skiing.

Thing is, I agree with the whole bad outlook because I wanted it then and I want it now. But I gave up the last time. Its her who have been pushing more the last year. Wanting to meet, calling to hear if I`m going out and want to meet etc. Sending texts if she comes across something funny we have discussed that made her think of me. I originally decided that if she didnt want me, Id look for a cool girl that did.

So, how do I demonstrate interest without escalating. My though was maybe going out. Things often get more relaxed if your out having a drink.
posted by silvershadow at 5:46 PM on March 23


Yes, a drink is a great idea. Honestly, you guys are already doing the right things - flirty texts, fun times together. I know you think she's awesome, but Take It Slow. You've already scared her off once with being smothery, so this time indicate your interest by, y'no being interested in her. As a person. Teaching her to ski is great. Opening up to her about your life since you guys got together, so she can see that you're not just a party guy and that you trust her would be great.

Mostly, pay attention to how she's reacting to you. If she seems anything but enthusiastic, back off a little. You guys are both recently out of relationships, so you might need more time doing fun stuff together to have a sense for who each of you is now, out of your old relationships, before you can be really cool together.

So: keep doing what you're doing, going out and talking and having fun and doing good activities together. Have that drink, open up a little. Let her know you're really enjoying getting to know her again. Answers will come soon enough.
posted by ldthomps at 6:30 PM on March 23


If you have drinks, I would ask her on a date to have drinks. Lots of people "get a drink" with a platonic friend, and being a long ago ex would put you in my "yeah this is definitely a platonic thing" column for sure, if I was this woman.
posted by Sara C. at 6:35 PM on March 23


I gently submit that the both of you having just gotten out of relationships (and a bad one for you, particularly) may mean that one or both of you may not be in the best headspace for another relationship.

That caution being said, be kind, be considerate, be explicit in your interest, and back off if she declines is really the only way to do things. Yeah, ask her on a date (using the word date). If she refuses, back off and don't bring it up again. I'm noting the backing off part so often because you admitted you had smothered her your first time around.

Other than that, there really isn't too much "playing it cool" here. You two have dated before. It's not like she can't tell when you're pulling a cool-and-mysterious virtuoso. Go out, have fun, do activities together. Be genuinely interested in each other, and hope for the best.
posted by Zelos at 6:52 PM on March 23


One thing I'd do is be up front with this chick about texts: "I am the WORST at texting, I'd much rather talk face-to-face, or on the phone. I use texts to transmit information only. So if you're running late, text me, if you have a question or want to talk about something, call me."

Nothing worse than reading too much into "flirty messages" or having them being misinterpreted.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:37 AM on March 24


But on texting and stuff she is kinda weird. She will text me. Ill answer and she wouldn`t answer for hours. She initiates contact, but then fade of.

Using texts for anything more emotionally loaded than asking somebody to buy milk on the way home is absolutely an error. Give that up.
posted by flabdablet at 10:44 AM on March 24


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