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Phone call protocol?
October 11, 2006 10:42 PM   Subscribe

Why is it when I'm dating a guy and I call him two days in a row - I get treated like Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction?

This has happened in my last two relationships. Everything is hunky dory. They call often enough - in the beginning almost everyday, including several days in a row. Then, when I'm finally comfortable in the relationship, I'll call one day to say hey and see how they're doing, and maybe the next day I'll call to see if they want to do something.

After that, things seem to go downhill fast. I know there may be some other mitigating factors in the descent of their affections: they realize they don't like me, they're busy, etc. But then I get the brush off or they act like I'm bothering them.

I'm really easy going, if someone calls me often (whether it be friend or more than a friend), I don't think anything of it. I don't automatically think, "Geez, this person is a needy. I better lock away my bunny." I imagine I could be more unavailable, but then if the guy I'm dating calls and I miss it, I will call them later that day, or if there is alot going on, the next day.

I don't want to be insincere and wait several days to call back, but frankly I'm frustrated. Do I act normally, play the waiting game or get rid of my phone?
posted by wilde to Human Relations (61 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think you were just with two losers in a row. Decent guys don't play stupid games.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:52 PM on October 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


I second what croutonsupafreak said... one call per day is acceptable to almost anyone.
posted by Deep Dish at 10:59 PM on October 11, 2006


I second what croutonsupafreak said. Take a good hard look at the 'type' of guys you are dating and what personality traits they might share which would lead them to act like this.

Then, when you are interested in another guy, ask yourself the same question regarding him.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:01 PM on October 11, 2006


Dammit, I guess I thirded it. *thanks* Deep Dish :)
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:01 PM on October 11, 2006


What time frame are you talking about? One week into the relationship? One month? Three months?
posted by occhiblu at 11:01 PM on October 11, 2006


Sounds like they may have control issues. Good riddance.
posted by brain_drain at 11:04 PM on October 11, 2006


Also, maybe, what's the age range of the guys you're dating? These sorts of things seem more important to younger guys, which may be part of the issue.
posted by occhiblu at 11:05 PM on October 11, 2006


Why don't you ask whoever you're calling what call frequency they're comfortable with?
posted by rdr at 11:11 PM on October 11, 2006


occhiblu - It's happened in the 1-2 months period. I'm 24, these guys have been 19 (this was a horrible mistake), 23 and 25. So, actually I've dated three lame-asses in a row.

kickstart - these guys have been all very different. One was introverted, not moody, geeky the other extroverted, moody and ultra-hip.
posted by wilde at 11:13 PM on October 11, 2006


When I'm in an exclusive dating relationship, I like daily contact. I wouldn't think of it as needy or weird to get a call every evening from my girlfriend; quite the opposite.

So, don't sweat it. Get back on the horse.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:21 PM on October 11, 2006


Specifically, what are these guys saying or doing to make you feel like they think you're Glenn Close? It may be a problem with your perception or expectations rather than reality.

A lot of relationships seem to end at the 2 or 3 month mark. At that point, you're past the initial attraction stage, and you're able to evaluate the long-term potential. You're pretty young, and so are they, so that may not apply to you as much, but still, maybe it's just a coincidence.

Is it really calling twice a day, or are you projecting some other needy kind of vibe that is just proximate to the calls? People don't like insecurity. You've got 3 different people all acting the same. The one thing that is the same is you, so look to that.
posted by willnot at 11:24 PM on October 11, 2006


I hate to just write it off as an age thing, but in my experience it's an age thing. Every guy I've dated in his early 20s has spent the entire relationship trying to get more space than he thought I was giving him (and I was giving a lot of space).

To some extent, yes, only dating guys who don't put you through these games is ideal. On the other hand, the practical matter is that guys in their early 20s tend to have these sorts of freak-outs. It's not mature behavior, but I think it is normal for the age range; if you still see it with 30-something guys, then I think it's grounds for immediate break-up. Whether you choose to play along with these guys is up to you, and I can certainly see rewards on either side -- either you don't date much but the guys you date don't play games, or you have to play games but that negotiation gives you access to more guys.
posted by occhiblu at 11:26 PM on October 11, 2006


willnot - Using Glenn Close was a bit of a joke, it's not that extreme. I'm not calling twice a day, if I speak or hang out with them one day, I don't call again the same day. I understand that initial attraction ends after a few months. Most of my relationships have either been either 2-3 months or 1-3 years long. I don't believe I am projecting any kind of needy vibe - I have a busy life. I have nights where I do my own thing and they are free to do the same. I'm not co-dependent, I just like having a mature, reliable partner.
posted by wilde at 11:38 PM on October 11, 2006


Many men hate the thought they're being "checked up on," or that they're expected to make "relationship calls" on an expected schedule. Other men hate being put in a position of making small talk, which is what calls that haven't an informational purpose seem like. Any conversation that has the calling party asking questions in the first 2 minutes pushes buttons for many guys. You may get a different reaction, if you call when you have something of substance to relate, or wait for guys to call, which generally won't happen until they have a particular reason.

It's not personal, really. It's just a manifestation of the old "guys want to fix whatever you want to talk about" dynamic, and I hear about this, in wry tones, from more guys than ever, in these cell phone equipped days. A lot of older men I know refuse to carry cell phones, simply because they don't want to take calls from wives they've been married to for decades, when the guys are out and about.

One friend of mine has a box in the toolbox of his truck for the Go phones his wife buys about every other month. He watches her go through her whole speil about how to work the new phone she gets him every couple of months, and he tosses it on the dashboard of his truck until it quits ringing because the battery dies. Then he tosses it in the box in the toolbox, and tells his wife he must have lost another one on a job site. It's easier than arguing with her, and they can afford it, and he doesn't have to bother with calls. In his family, everybody's minimally unhappy about modern communications, together, if for entirely different reasons.

I hear about it from him when asks me about what he could do to "donate the phones to charity, 'cause they must be good for something." I've suggested he give 'em to local women's shelters as 911 emergency devices, but so far, that hasn't happened. I think he's got about a dozen of 'em now.
posted by paulsc at 11:51 PM on October 11, 2006


I'm really easy going, if someone calls me often (whether it be friend or more than a friend), I don't think anything of it. I don't automatically think, "Geez, this person is a needy. I better lock away my bunny."

Congrats. But not everyone is like you. It's perfectly okay to want to talk to someone every day, and it's perfectly okay to NOT want to talk to someone every day too.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:08 AM on October 12, 2006


Maybe because you're dating this guy.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:11 AM on October 12, 2006


23skidoo - They are the ones who start out by calling me everyday, so it's safe to assume they like to talk everyday, right? The problem is when I am the one intiating these calls- they freak out.

So for example: Bobby calls me Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Then I call Bobby the following week on Monday, then Tuesday. Bobby acts weird because I called two days in a row.
posted by wilde at 12:23 AM on October 12, 2006


Talking on the phone is a girl and gay thing. Most guys hate talking on the phone (unless it has a real point to it). Men are visual thinkers and need facial feedback. Women keep relationships going by talking on the phone, but for most men talking on the phone is an annoying waste of time.
posted by zackdog at 12:33 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


What does acting weird mean? What do they do or say specifically?
posted by willnot at 12:35 AM on October 12, 2006


Another suggestion: perhaps they just don't get much of a kick out of talking on the phone? Some people are like that. I know I am. I will happily exchange dozens of emails a day with somebody I'm dating, or with friends, but I've never ever been one to ring anybody up just for a chat, and most of the time I will be less than enthusiastic about chitchat if somebody calls me. Other guys may feel similarly - that a phone is a functional tool, for organising things, dealing with bureaucracies, ordering home delivery food, whatever, but not a tool for socialising...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:38 AM on October 12, 2006


(or what zackdog said)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:39 AM on October 12, 2006


It's perfectly okay to want to talk to someone every day, and it's perfectly okay to NOT want to talk to someone every day too.

But if these guys didn't want to talk to you everyday after a couple of months, I doubt they would want to spend every day with you after a couple of years. FWIW, my diagnosis is: they just weren't the guys for you.

on preview, so they did want to talk everyday (so long as the communication was controlled by them). But my point stands.
posted by ancamp at 12:40 AM on October 12, 2006


When he wants you, he calls. When he doesn't particularly want you, when he's quite content to be without you for the moment, he doesn't call, and that's when you call him instead to see why he hasn't called. So, from his point of view, you always call him at exactly the wrong time.
posted by pracowity at 12:47 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


What zackdog said. I'm not as phone-phobic as I was, but I still don't like them. For me, phones are square in the middle of the uncanny valley of communication methods - phone conversations are just realistic enough to be disturbing.

Phone calls with potential emotional repercussions, especially with somebody I don't already know intimately, are just nasty. And I'm 44, for what that's worth.
posted by flabdablet at 12:52 AM on October 12, 2006


They probably feel comofortable when they're making the shots. So when it's them making the phone calls they don't view that as clingy because they're controlling it, they get to decide when these phone calls happen. When you do the same thing they're caught off guard and feel like you have the power in the situation. Subconsciously or not. They also probably don't take into consideration that they might be bothering you when they call but when you do their time is of priority. All a shot in the dark of course because everyone is different. Sure maybe a lot of guys don't like talking on the phone but there are a hell of a lot who do too.
posted by liquorice at 12:53 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Willnot - One situation went like this:

"Bobby" called me Tuesday to plan something for the following week. He then calls me Wednesday, just to talk, say hi, etc. Then he calls Thursday to hang out on Friday, and calls Friday to talk while I'm driving to see him. I do my own thing on the weekend and then call Monday to say hi and see if he wants to do something that night. Whether we hang out or not, I might call on Tuesday to see how things are. Then Bobby tells me he's busy and "needs space." So by calling him two days in a row, I've apparently invaded his "space." Even though he had enough space to call me several days in a row earlier.
posted by wilde at 12:53 AM on October 12, 2006


23skidoo - They are the ones who start out by calling me everyday, so it's safe to assume they like to talk everyday, right? The problem is when I am the one intiating these calls- they freak out.

So for example: Bobby calls me Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Then I call Bobby the following week on Monday, then Tuesday. Bobby acts weird because I called two days in a row.


Did a guy really act weird about Day 2 of you calling him daily after he called you 4 times the week before? Your original post made it seem like they start off calling you all the time, but then it tapers off, and then you start calling them daily at some later date. Just because they called you all the time at the start of the relationship doesn't mean it's safe to assu that they actually like to talk everyday. They might just be doing it to impress you.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:03 AM on October 12, 2006


ikkyu2 - Thanks for pointing that guy out. He sounds like my kind of douche..I mean dude :)

I understand several people's suggestion that many men might not like talking on the phone, the thing that I'm trying to emphasize is that the guys I've been dating have been setting the precedent by calling often. It seems like they are super gung-ho in the beginning: making plans and calling all the time, while I am being a bit more cautious because if I was acting that way I would potentially scare them off. Also it may be due to the fact that these guys are super infatuated in the beginning of the relationship, while the infatuation takes a bit longer for me. By the time my infatuation begins, theirs is winding down.

I think occhiblu hit the issue pretty well. All these guys were young and had NONE to VERY LIMITED relationship experience. Two of them had never had any kind of romantic relationship (short of 7th grade holding hands kind of thing), the other had one relationship that was very brief and ended 6 years prior to ours.

Liquorice summarized it pretty well - they call often and they're not clingy. If I attempt to call the same amount and/or time as they have previously exhibited and I am considered clingy.

I think it may be a combination of different relationship momentums that haven't been in sync as well as some power issues.
posted by wilde at 1:14 AM on October 12, 2006


That last post wasn't worded very well. "occhiblu....pretty well" "Liquorice...pretty well." Maybe these guys realized I have poor editing skills for a former book editor, or maybe it's because I am up at so late.

23skidoo - Maybe they are trying to impress me...and maybe I'm suppose to act aloof and enjoy it.

This question is preemptive of another relationship that may have the same situation. I guess I will know soon enough, so at least I can end it before I start to care. That sounds sad, but if it's too much of a confusing headache to begin with, will it really get any better?
posted by wilde at 1:30 AM on October 12, 2006


To me, it sounds like the "calling two days in a row" thing is more of a coincidence than anything. The 1-2 month timeframe is just about the time when a lot of people realize "Yeah, this isn't working for me... I need an excuse to break it off" - ESPECIALLY guys in their early twenties, and ESPECIALLY guys who don't have a ton of relationship experience. So, maybe the 2-days-in-a-row call was just the excuse they finally found to end it? Or, maybe in the case of "Bobby", he met somebody new on the weekend while you were doing your own thing? Or *he* was the needy one, calling you 4 days in a row, and when you did your own thing on the weekend he got all pissed off, and decided you weren't as into him as he was into you and decided to end it? To me, it sounds much more like the guys being flakes than it being anything in particular to do with you calling two days in a row.
posted by antifuse at 3:03 AM on October 12, 2006


If you're truly calling with a purpose, "want to go somewhere?", then you're simply dating boys not men and it is absolutely them and not you. If you're calling along the lines of "so... whadda doing..." you're the hoary bane of male existence and should stop doing that.
posted by dong_resin at 3:25 AM on October 12, 2006


confirmation bias.
posted by delmoi at 3:27 AM on October 12, 2006


Talking on the phone is a girl and gay thing. Most guys hate talking on the phone (unless it has a real point to it). Men are visual thinkers and need facial feedback. Women keep relationships going by talking on the phone, but for most men talking on the phone is an annoying waste of time.

Since when are gays not men? Seriously, this sounds like relationship book B.S, many of which seem to be written for women who are dating gorillas or something. Men are "visual thinkers"?

Anyway, it amazes me that so many people take the initial analysis as correct. There are only two sample points, and there are so many other variables in play in relationships, it's impossible to generalize based on a total of four phone calls. (or six, I'm not clear if the 19 year old had this same problem)

Anyway just call guys whenever you want, and if they have issues the fuck 'em. Many guys won't have this problem.

I did have this problem once. I stayed up late one Monday night chatting with this girl, eventually asking her out. She calls me the next morning at 9am when I was a sleep, to like reschedule the date from Friday to Saturday. She called me later that day, and I talked to her the next day too. I called her like a couple of times, and then by the week she like didn't want to talk to me and said I was too into her. Turns out she started dating some other dude that same week. Bleh.
posted by delmoi at 3:41 AM on October 12, 2006


I didn't see anything about the length of the calls. Long, soul-searching calls make guys crazy after the intitial infatuation phase wears off. You might try mixing up your method of communication (send him a short email if you want to go on a date) or style (informational guy exchange). Sometimes my phone conversations with a friend go like this:

Me: Hey.
Him: You coming over Friday?
Me: Yeah. Wife working?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Should I bring anything?
Him: Just yourself.
Me: Cool. See ya then.
Him: Bye.

I have this extremely amateur hypothesis, after realizing how much of my conversations with men were based off of non-verbal cues, that guys relay a lot of information through posture, quick gestures, and glances. Ordinarily, I'd scoff when evolutionary anthropologists would talk about how men would need to be absolutely silent when hunting and therefore would develop other means of communication, but experience has taught me: we guys tend to stick to the nouns and not a lot else.
The phone is great for conveying the tone of voice and the subtext that women seem more inclined towards, but the non-vocal just doesn't carry.

Or it just could be a bad run of three immature dudes. Maybe you pick a bad time of day to call. Three guys is not a big sample size and, anyway, keep doing it until you find a guy who likes those daily calls. Would you really want to feel like you couldn't talk to the guy you're dating, for your entire relationship?
posted by adipocere at 4:53 AM on October 12, 2006


Talking on the phone is a girl and gay thing. Most guys hate talking on the phone (unless it has a real point to it). Men are visual thinkers and need facial feedback. Women keep relationships going by talking on the phone, but for most men talking on the phone is an annoying waste of time.

well, I'm female & usually feel the same way about phone calls, so I don't think this is a gender thing. But yeah, phone calls are best for setting up what to do later, not calling to talk. The only conversations I can accept are when people far away are dealing with heavy issues. Otherwise I prefer email.

But I would agree this sounds like a confirmation bias more than anything - things were going well, so he called often; then his interest tapered off, so you ended up being the one to call, because he wasn't calling, and he started to tell you he wasn't really into it ('needed space'). I doubt it's that your calls actually caused the problem.
posted by mdn at 5:45 AM on October 12, 2006


I suppose some of it really might be the content of your conversation -- if its just the standard "how was your day? do you miss me?" kind of stuff, yeah, that's going to get old really quick, especially if you're calling up every day.

I think a lot of guys use the phone as a device simply for confirming plans, rather than "chatting". Instead of calling him to chat, I recommend you call him and arrange to meet for a coffee, where they might be more eager to "just chat". Now, if you're not in the same location as your bf, then yeah, phone is your only recourse. But unless that's the case....

And FWIW, the fact that you selected as "best answer" the one the completely disavows your role in this and suggests that any man that doesn't enjoy chatting on the phone has "power issues" is, frankly, laughable.
posted by modernnomad at 6:25 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Not wanting to talk on the phone is definately not a "guy thing". My wife and I are terrible on the phone even though we speak a couple of times a day. We have great, long, interesting, wonderful conversations face-to-face but on the phone they're stilted. She doesn't much like talking on the phone. I have some male friends whom I can talk to on the phone for a long time, and I really enjoy those conversations. Other male friends I text because I can't face talking to them because the conversation isn't stilted it's little more than a series of grunts. The point that I'm making is that to equate all men with being shit on the phone and all women as being stunning telephonic raconteurs is disingenuous.
posted by ob at 6:33 AM on October 12, 2006


As for the guys that you've dated, they sound a little immature to me...
posted by ob at 6:34 AM on October 12, 2006


First: this does vary from guy to guy. I know guys in their 20s who don't mind the girl calling every day (but then again, the guy sometimes calls the girl--none of them like the feeling of her always calling them).

I think it's a social thing. Our cultural stereotype is girls are always after "the ring", and a guy has to watch out for girls getting their claws in him and ending his freedom. So guys (especially young guys, who haven't figured out yet the stereotypes are bullshit) are hyper-sensitive of this, and don't realize the difference between actual neediness and just a desire to get in contact with them once in a while.

Same way some girls are absolutely flabbergasted to find out their boyfriends aren't actually at the service of their dicks.
posted by schroedinger at 6:46 AM on October 12, 2006


Not wanting to talk on the phone is definately not a "guy thing".

Agreed, I despise talking on the phone.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:06 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


All these guys were young and had NONE to VERY LIMITED relationship experience.

There's your problem. Don't date guys like that, or if you do, be prepared for immature reactions.
posted by languagehat at 7:31 AM on October 12, 2006


modernnomad - I'm not the type who calls and says "hi, what's up. I'm bored. I miss you, etc"

They've started the relationship calling me often just say hi and see what's going. I'm not saying any guy who doesn't want to chat with me more than one day in a row has "power issues." I'm not disavowing my role in the whole thing...I know there are several other factors in play. Turns out though, it seems if they "interrupt my day" just to say hi or make plans, it doesn't seem to be an issue, but if I "interrupt their day" it becomes an issue.

For the record, I don't like talking on the phone for longer than ten minutes, especially about nothing important. I tend to use the phone more for making plans. The only time I talk on the phone for a significant amount of time is when I haven't seen the person for a some time (say a month or more).
posted by wilde at 7:51 AM on October 12, 2006


You don't sound like you are too clingy, so I don't think you fit the co-dependent female cliche. But these guys may be too inexperienced; hence, they are labelling you like that. But it could be another factor.

In general though, men will call a lot early in the relationship because they're excited about this cool new chick they are dating. But if they are like most men, they hate 'being checked on' and they hate talking on the phone.

I'm sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but my advise would be: Try to watch your calling behavior in your next few relationships. But, probably, you just dated a few losers.

For the record, I don't like talking on the phone for longer than ten minutes

Yikes! Were you to look at my phone records, you'd find that almost every call in less than 45 seconds.

Oh, and I dated a 24 year old when I was 19 for a year. It's works fine when the guy isn't a douche.
posted by spaltavian at 8:18 AM on October 12, 2006


*err, advice, not advise
posted by spaltavian at 8:19 AM on October 12, 2006


I really like the way schroedinger phrased it: "So guys (especially young guys, who haven't figured out yet the stereotypes are bullshit) are hyper-sensitive of this, and don't realize the difference between actual neediness and just a desire to get in contact with them once in a while." That's certainly been the case with my exes. (One of whom decided that since I was three years older than he was, I automatically wanted to get married and he therefore had to guard against that, despite my quite sincere protestations that I had no desire to get married at that point in time, and that I certainly had no desire to marry him at any point in time. Anyway.)

One way to think about it may be not "I've called twice in two days" as much as "We've talked or seen each other six times in eight days," if that makes any sense. It may be less that you're calling twice than that the guys have unwittingly set up what seems to you to be daily communication (but what to them was likely excitement about / planning for about seeing you on Friday), and once they realize what they've done, that they've created an expectation for daily communication, they back way the hell off.

Again, it's not great behavior, and you certainly don't have to put up with it. It's annoying as hell. But I also think that type of hot-cold thing is pretty common.

(And as a total unasked-for advice aside: In my experience, if you're often doing your own thing on weekends, assume the guy's not seriously into the relationship (unless he works weekends or something). You can still date him, of course, but figure that this sort of space-establishing jerky behavior is going to occur often.)
posted by occhiblu at 8:27 AM on October 12, 2006


Like delmoi said, it could be a case of confirmation bias. In Deborah Tannen's book "You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation" she addresses what might be a related issue. It's commonly believed that women talk more than men (the whole nagging wife/silent suffering husband chestnut). She would record people in conversation and people's (especially men's) perceptions were that the women talked more than they actually did, and definitely more than the men even though the opposite was usually true.

So perhaps because the common belief is that women talk on the phone more and are needier and/or clingier than men, every phone call you make is magnified in the mind of these guys.

Just a possible theory.
posted by witchstone at 8:50 AM on October 12, 2006


So, actually I've dated three lame-asses in a row.
And you have a problem with them not calling you back?
Isn't this like complaining about small portions of bad food?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:10 AM on October 12, 2006


He's just not that into you.
posted by ZackTM at 9:12 AM on October 12, 2006


To put things in perspective, this is the pattern in these relationships I'm talking about:

- Boy and I are friends for a few months
- Boy tells me he has feelings for me or at some point we kiss
- We begin dating
- Boy calls me everyday for the first two weeks, makes all the plans. After the first two weeks call taper off to every other day.
- Around week 3-4, boy invites me to a family function, where I meet his parents, but he doesn't act like he's "taking me home to meet the parents". Then soon after he asks when he can "meet" my mother, he seems to be irritated since I met his parents even though IT'S NO BIG DEAL why haven't I offered my mama up?
- Week 4-5: Boy realizes I travel often. Boy makes big plans for us to travel, or invites himself into my travel plans or invites me into his. Examples: Boy 1 - After a month of dating goes: "I'm going to London for business. You should come with me; can you get the time off work?" Boy 2 - After 1.5 months of dating and me being away two weeks in Australia: "So if you're going back to Sydney in 2 months, can I come along? If you're moving back for good...we'll move there together right?" Boy 3 - After 2 months of dating: Let's go to Japan in October (9 months away)."
- Week 5-6: I may begin to have some feelings for the boy. I actually get to the be the one who calls and makes plans. As before, the boy was calling all the time - so unless I wanted to talk to him twice in a day, I didn't call.
- One day I call him and talk/make plans/etc and I may do the same the next day.
- Boy needs SPACE

two of these instances have been followed by
- I give boy space. We break up/stop dating
- Boy sees me out with someone else or with friends
- Boy calls me the next day, asks me out. Calls me almost everyday again.

Maybe it is my fault for not mirroring their grand gestures in the beginning.
- I don't actually like talking everyday - I kind of run out of things to say, and don't really like talking about the weather. It's just that crazy off chance I may call one day and then call the next day for whatever reason. I'm not calling to say "We only talked for five minutes yesterday pookie. I miss you."
- I can't just let any guy meet my mom. She's very old fashioned and only really wants to meet them if it is a serious relationship. I don't want to go: Hey Mom, meet Bobby, we've been going out a month. Then a week later, my mom asks about Bobby. Oh sorry Mom, turns out he needed space.
- All my relationships that have gone over three months have lasted 1-3 years. So they are the guys who meet my mom, I make big plans with, etc.

It just seems they are SO CRAZY INFATUTATED in the beginning and expect me to do the same. I'm not going to jump into the deep end after 2-5 weeks of dating. It could happen that after I do, the pool isn't big enough for both of us and he needs to go to SPACE.

Now I imagine these three guys on a spaceship somewhere near Venus enjoying some of this yummy space ice cream
posted by wilde at 9:59 AM on October 12, 2006


You're dating boys who want what they can't have. As long as you are exotic and somewhat untouchable, you are something to be pursued. Once they have you, you become considerably less interesting to them. Many people are this way to an extent, but the examples you describe seem particularly broken.

You won't be able to fix them, and it's probably not worth playing at their game. What you should do is explore why you keep attracting and hooking up with this particular type of guy because that's all you and that's what you need to fix. Otherwise, the pattern will keep repeating itself.
posted by willnot at 10:10 AM on October 12, 2006


(I keep talking about that space ice cream and no one ever seems to know what I'm talking about! Yay, grade-school memories!)

These guys just kind of sound like immature losers. This sounds more like BIG GRAND IDEALIZED INFATUATION that fades once they see you're a real person with real needs -- does that fit at all?

It sounds like these guys are more or less inventing relationships out of thin air that have little to do with what's actually happening down on earth. And truthfully, if someone talked about moving together after less than two months of dating, *I* would be the one asking for some space.

I think the flip-side to many of the "grand romantic gestures" guys is that they're more in love with the idea of a relationship than with the actual women in front of them. You could just somehow be attracting/be attracted to that, so you keep getting hit with the same problem.

On preview: willnot's comment reminds me that I've most often had this problem with guys I've been friends with first; I think there was definitely that sense that once I was no longer "off limits," I was less interesting. Of course there are relationships that start as friendships (as opposed to just flirtations) and that work well, but that may be complicating things a bit here, too.
posted by occhiblu at 10:16 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thanks for everyone's comments and advice. I know there are alot of factors in play, but maybe there is a pattern to this idealization infatuation that I should cut off from the beginning. I just understand their excitement about being with someone they like; I like them as well, but I can't make super grand gestures right off the bat.

And just because I spent the past few days making graphs; here is one that illustrates my point about the infatuation dynamics of these relationships. I don't know which is sadder, that I had these relationships or that I spent two minutes of my precious time making this graph for shits and giggles. No one tell me please...I know the answer.


Also, somewhat OT: I love you occhiblu. Let's run away together one weekend, gorge ourselves on space ice cream and never call each other.
posted by wilde at 11:08 AM on October 12, 2006


.Also, somewhat OT: I love you occhiblu. Let's run away together one weekend, gorge ourselves on space ice cream and never call each other.

Well, there ya go. If you switch to chicks, you won't have to worry about flakey boys anymore, neh?
posted by solid-one-love at 11:24 AM on October 12, 2006


I love you occhiblu. Let's run away together one weekend, gorge ourselves on space ice cream and never call each other.

Hee. This thread, however, has triggered some mild form of PTSD for me. I had forgotten just how horrifying dating in one's 20s could be!
posted by occhiblu at 12:05 PM on October 12, 2006


(Also, that graph made me giggle.)
posted by occhiblu at 12:08 PM on October 12, 2006


Week 5-6: I may begin to have some feelings for the boy. I actually get to the be the one who calls and makes plans. As before, the boy was calling all the time - so unless I wanted to talk to him twice in a day, I didn't call.

I wonder if the particular immaturity (and I concur with that estimation of these dudes) these men share causes them to be put out when you change the dynamic like this. They want to be the decision makers and plan suggesters. Once you start to change that around you're not the go-along girl they want.

You're better off without men who are frightened of women who have their own goals and desires, but perhaps you need to show more of your go-get-em spirit earlier on so you can quit being surprised by this kind of thing.
posted by phearlez at 1:32 PM on October 12, 2006


Maybe it is my fault for not mirroring their grand gestures in the beginning.

Don't just "maybe" this under the rug. You can hear that the guys you date are immature a thousand different ways, but I can imagine that if the guys were send in a question to AskMe, it would sound like:

"I met this girl. She is great. She's smart and funny, has a great job, awesome awesome, blahblahblahblah ten thousand good things. The problem is, she never calls me. I'm always the one planning stuff, I'm always the one trying to make time to see her. All my friends know how into this girl I am, and I don't even know if I she even has feelings for me at all. Should I wait around until week 5 or 6 when she might start to have some feelings for me?"

And I'd bet there'd be a resounding chorus of people telling him how immature you are being, and that Dude should get. out. now.

If you want to paint all the guys you date with the Immature Brush, then consider saving a little paint for yourself. It should not be surprising that someone who has such high peaks on their Mountain of Unreciprocated Attraction would eventually turn them into valleys of indifference if left too long to wonder if you're into him or not.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:18 PM on October 12, 2006


23skidoo - I am reciprocating their affections. I would like to initiate some of the calls in the beginning of the relationship, but my job is not really conducive to that. Whereas, they have time in the day to call (they have all worked part-time at night, went to school in the mornings or not worked) and I either a) find some time inbetween work projects to talk b) call them back at lunchtime c) call them back after work.

I've tried to plan things for us to do, and this is what happens:
Me - Hey, how about we go to the movies tomorrow night? Him - I don't feel like going out tonight, let's go tomorrow.
(He decides he doesn't want to go the movies, wants me to come over and bring a DVD)
Then a few days later:
Me - Hey, I'm my friends and I are going to (insert restaurant here), want to come?
Him - No, how about we go to the movies?
(I go eat with my friends, and then meet him for the movie)
The next time I call:
Him - What do you want to do tongiht?
Me - Want to go to the improv?/Let's go the Improv
Him - No, I don't want to see comedy tonight. How about we go bowling?
(we then go bowling)


Do you see a pattern? I acquiesce most of the time, because I LIKE THEM, but it seems like things have to be on THEIR terms. I'm the one calling at a bad time, even though I make time to talk to them when they call me at work. They want me to go out when they invite me, but when I invite them it's not at a good time or they'd rather do something else. I try to go with the flow...I don't drop all my plans whenever they want me to, but I do try to hang out with them when they're in the mood to do whatever.

For the record, I have exhibited interest in all these guys, by doing all the following: Met their parents, hung out with their friends and siblings, went to their work/school functions with them, helped them out with work/school, surprised them with a record I knew they would like and just by generally being someone who cared about them and liked to have fun with them and see them happy.

I let them know that I have feelings with them, I just don't do what they do, such as:
1. Introduce him to my parents without warning, then demand to meet theirs
2. Plan international trips/moves for the following year, two months into the relationship

I never wrote anything about them being immature, that was other commenters.
posted by wilde at 4:56 PM on October 12, 2006


Yes there are some horrible grammar and spelling mistakes above. I apologize to the grammar gods/godesses.
posted by wilde at 5:00 PM on October 12, 2006


I never said all guys who don't like phone calls might have "power issues", I just said these guys may have it and it's probably a shot in the dark because all people are different. But just writing it off as "men don't like speaking on the phone - it's evoluntinary(sp), see?" is not answering the question. Wilde's not asking why a lot of guys don't like talking on the phone, she's asking why they used to like it and now they don't. But as an aside: My boyfriend and I talk on the phone for about three hours a day, and it's most definately not one-sided.
posted by liquorice at 5:19 PM on October 12, 2006


It seems like they are super gung-ho in the beginning: making plans and calling all the time, while I am being a bit more cautious because if I was acting that way I would potentially scare them off. Also it may be due to the fact that these guys are super infatuated in the beginning of the relationship, while the infatuation takes a bit longer for me. By the time my infatuation begins, theirs is winding down.

I experience the exact same thing! I have dated a number of guys who were crazy about me in the beginning...but as soon as I start to reciprocate the relationship ends. I don't know what this is due to...maybe you and I have had the bad luck to meet (or are drawn to) men who like the chase but don't actually want a mutual relationship with someone who is a partner. Maybe these men have high expectations and feel rejected when their affections aren't immediately returned with equal measure. Or maybe they are dreamers who project onto us what they want to see before they really know who we are.

In any case, I have to say that I am getting really tired of men! I know that they can be lovely people, but I am tired of playing to their fears, being careful to seem independent, not getting serious "too soon," etc. If men are so tough and masculine how come they get scared off so easily? I get really tired of trying to figure them out.
posted by mintchip at 11:01 PM on August 2, 2007


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