Hive mind, please help me get my foot out of my mouth.
November 25, 2008 9:20 PM   Subscribe

I´ve stupidly managed to insult a guy I´ve been seeing. By voicemail. Now he doesn´t want to see me again. Can I fix this?

So I´m a woman (mid 30´s, but not a lot of capital-R relationship experience), and I have managed to get myself all twitterpatted, crushed-out, sexy brain chemicals that make you not think straight, over a man (late 30´s, hereafter referred to as ¨he¨ and ¨him¨) that I´ve been on about 8 dates or so with. He lives just far enough away that some of these have been planned as him visiting me or me visiting him, but probably too nearby to be considered long-distance.

Other instances of twitterpation on my part in recent years have involved guys that I have not actually managed to go on any dates with, so I feel like a dumb teenager about this whole thing. I generally go on dates with guys that I don´t really feel a ´spark´ for and had pretty much given up on getting that feeling out of dating ever again.

Things have been pretty much undefined in terms of what sort relationship we have exactly, and I have been trying to just enjoy time with him without worrying about if I would see him again (although last time we went out he did let me know we would go out again at some point), when that would be, etc. There´s been a consistent pattern for me of stressing out that I won´t hear from him again after I haven´t heard from him in 4 to 6 days. I realize that I´m under the effect of weird twitterpattion brain chemicals that are having an effect on my thinking and emotions, so I´ve generally been successful at chilling the hell out about this and telling myself that I just need to wait and see what happens, restraining myself from besieging him with more emails and phone calls.

Until yesterday, when I did something really stupid. I was frustrated that I hadn´t heard from him, called and left a message asking when I would see him again and saying something to the effect of that if he didn´t want to see me again I would find it more honorable if he would let me know. I continued this decent into idiocy by listing a few reasons he might not want to see me, including the possibility that he might have a girlfriend/old girlfriend (Oh, I´m not sure which one I said, and there´s a big big difference there) back where he used to live. I think I was thinking something along the lines of him getting back together with someone rather than it being a continuous thing, but I don´t remember if I said that. I wasn´t in a good emotional state to be making a phone call and I said a bunch of stupid things.

He called back later and left me a message stating that he had been just about to call me, was upset at the implications of my message, and didn´t want to see me again. I then left an apologetic message saying that I was sorry and shouldn´t have said what I did. Have not heard back from him but it would really be too soon to hear back at this point, but I think I have really made a doozy of a mistake here.

Is there anything I can do to fix this? I can´t unsay what I said, and I shouldn´t have said it. Is there anything I can do or say to make amends somehow?

Have I just made a mistake in getting to emotionally attached here, is it time to cut my losses and try to forget about him?

I don´t know any of his friends, and I am sure he would be very upset if I were to just show up at his house or something, so those are no avenues for a solution.

I really dislike the process of dating new people in general, this was a rare pleasant surprise. Perhaps I´m too stuck on solving this situation because of that? Should I just figure this is one of those painful learning experiences?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (53 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Call back one more time, reiterating that you were stupid and you're deeply sorry and would he please give you another chance. If he doesn't respond to that, move on.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:29 PM on November 25, 2008


It seems to me that your behavior is broadcasting: "This woman is incredibly insecure/needy! Avoid her if you want to maintain any semblance of independence."

Particularly since you're already in your mid-30s, a guy confronting this would likely assume this is an unchangeable personality trait. The problem isn't simply that you are insecure...it's that you lashed out at this guy and tried to bring him down, too. That's fairly typical for insecure people, but it also explains why it is so difficult to be friends with/in a relationship with someone with severe insecurity.

This sounds to me like a painful learning experience--I can't see how you would get out of this one. Maybe you want to see a therapist about the underlying self-confidence and self-destructiveness issues? It's not crazy to wonder if you haven't heard from a date in a few days "did I do something wrong?" and "does he like me as much as I like him?" but you shouldn't react in such a self-destructive way.
posted by monkey85 at 9:37 PM on November 25, 2008 [10 favorites]


It seems to me that your behavior is broadcasting: "This woman is incredibly insecure/needy! Avoid her if you want to maintain any semblance of independence."

Particularly since you're already in your mid-30s, a guy confronting this would likely assume this is an unchangeable personality trait. The problem isn't simply that you are insecure...it's that you lashed out at this guy and tried to bring him down, too. That's fairly typical for insecure people, but it also explains why it is so difficult to be friends with/in a relationship with someone with severe insecurity.

This sounds to me like a painful learning experience--I can't see how you would get out of this one. Maybe you want to see a therapist about the underlying self-confidence and self-destructiveness issues? It's not crazy to wonder if you haven't heard from a date in a few days "did I do something wrong?" and "does he like me as much as I like him?" but you shouldn't react in such a self-destructive way.


I'd say this pretty much sums it up. Unfortunately for you, it's very hard to spring back from a situation like this because the issues behind your message don't just clear up with an apology. I'd take this as a learning experience and perhaps work on understanding why this happened in the first place.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 9:46 PM on November 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I disagree strongly with everyone above.

Him not contacting you for periods of 4-6 days is quite rude, if you've been on 8 dates. Unless he is working 80 hour weeks saving baby seals, that's not cool. He at least owes you a quick "hey im busy talk later" text or email.

Frankly, I think you busted him, he either does have another girlfriend or "just isn't that into you." Any decent person who had nothing to hide would forgive your faux pas, not rub your face in it. He was looking for an exit, and now that he baited you into getting upset he's taking the opportunity to bail, and gratuitously make you feel like shit on his way out the door.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:52 PM on November 25, 2008 [30 favorites]


stating that he had been just about to call me,

WOW WHAT A COINCIDENCE! He had been ignoring you for a week but was just about to call you right the very moment you finally got frustrated. That part in particular just screams "manipulative bullshit designed to make the victim feel bad and question herself."
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:55 PM on November 25, 2008 [46 favorites]


Him not contacting you for periods of 4-6 days is quite rude, if you've been on 8 dates. Unless he is working 80 hour weeks saving baby seals, that's not cool. He at least owes you a quick "hey im busy talk later" text or email.

Yeah, I don't know if it's rude or wrong or anything... but it's not good. This stage should be kind of intense, right? Six days of silence indicates that he's not that interested.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:57 PM on November 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's look at the subtext:
You: I'm feeling insecure about this relationship. I miss you. I'm frustrated. Why haven't you called? Here are my anxieties.
Him: WhatacoincidenceIwasjustabouttocall! But because you have expressed vulnerabilities, worries, and intensity, I must disconnect from you.

See the incongruity?
If he were committed to the relationship, he'd have calmed and reassured you. His reaction tends to suggest he used your call as a pretense for distancing.

Hopefully he will reconsider so you can reconcile. But if he remains silent, don't blame yourself. You didn't provoke his reaction -- unless you interspersed your voice message with lewd maledictions involving his mother, Satan, his ex-girlfriend, and the Geico lizard.

If you miss him after a few weeks, send a note. However, ultimately he's the one who must reach out to rebuild the relationship.
posted by terranova at 9:59 PM on November 25, 2008 [9 favorites]


and finally, not to belabor this, but a person who genuinely wanted to be in a relationship with you would ABSOLUTELY NOT give it up via voicemail. That is Just. Not. How. Humans. Act.

At worst, he would say, "I'm very hurt and we need to talk," and then decide from there.

He did not value the relationship. Sorry.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:00 PM on November 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


4-6 days? After 8 dates? While I don't think there's any specific formula to calculate the proper date/contact ratio, 4-6 days of no contact after date #8 is not what I would call a good thing. And breaking it off via voicemail without any chance of defense? buh-bye. You can do better.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:03 PM on November 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Him not contacting you for periods of 4-6 days is quite rude, if you've been on 8 dates. Unless he is working 80 hour weeks saving baby seals, that's not cool. He at least owes you a quick "hey im busy talk later" text or email.

I think this is beside the point. Anything we add to "well, he did this because of this..." is pure conjecture. The issue at hand here isn't that he neglected to call, nor are his motives even relevant. The real issue is that the OP decided that, rather than give a quick check up call to say hello, she'd leave a very insightful message detailing all of her fears and assumptions regarding his loyalty and trust. She did not trust him, period. Any thoughts on his motives are nothing but assumptions.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 10:08 PM on November 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I kind of agree with everyone. What you did was a sign of neediness/insecurity, but at the same time not what I would consider a breakable offense, especially if it was a one off. I would definitely call the person and be a little upset, but if I really liked the person I can't imagine ending it right then and there, especially over voicemail. I think you overreacted, but your suspicions were probably not unfounded. Something else is going on here and your voicemail just sounds like a cowardly way out for him. Don't beat yourself up too much.
posted by whoaali at 10:12 PM on November 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's one idea I had. It could be good or it could be horribly bad. You could send him a link to this thread. At least this link honestly explains your take on everything. My opinion about dating is that things would be much better if people just cut the crap and were honest about what they were thinking or feeling.

Oh and in case you take my advice, here's a message for him:

Dear random dude,

anon is just following my advice, so don't think she's some weird stalker chick for sending you this link. Once you've reached the point of 8 dates you need to call more frequently than every 6 days. I know you're a guy and you probably don't understand that, but that's the way it works. It seems like you kids had a good thing going so don't let one voicemail make everything go sideways. This chick really seems to dig you, so I think you should give her another shot.
posted by bananafish at 10:14 PM on November 25, 2008


I'm with monkey85 on this one, sorry to say. I know it sucks and I know you regret what you did, but I wouldn't want to contact you again after that either. I'm a woman, but I'm not sure gender makes a whole lot of difference here. You did something that I would interpret as insecure and immature, and typically people who do things like that in their mid-30s aren't going to change any time soon.

If you had left it at, "Please tell me whether you want to continue to see me or not," that might have been understandable. The stuff where you speculate as to whether he has another girlfriend, or an old girlfriend, would just sound... well, whacko, needy, and paranoid. I'm really sorry to have to say that, we all act immature and insecure sometimes, but it's important to understand why it's reasonable for him to write you off. I wouldn't even want to be friends with someone like that, much less date them.

I'm not sure there's anything you can do to convince the guy otherwise if he's of the same mind. If I were him, I'd be thinking, "Well, glad I found that out before any more dates," and I'd just cut my losses. If you try to convince him otherwise he's likely to interpret that as insecurity, too, fairly or unfairly. :-/ At least I know I would.

As others have said, at least it's a (painful) lesson to learn from. Sorry things happened that way. I know I've certainly said my share of similar things to people just because I liked them a lot, but you do get better at it with practice and self-awareness. *hugs*
posted by Nattie at 10:23 PM on November 25, 2008


I´ve been on about 8 dates or so with

So you had a VERY unofficial, casual, non-committed relationship. Eight dates is nothing.

I feel like a dumb teenager about this whole thing

As you should, your machinations are teenager-esq in their insecurity and immaturity.

if he didn´t want to see me again I would find it more honorable if he would let me know

There was another AskMe where someone said or emailed this recently. I don't recall the specifics, but the consensus seemed to be that this was incredibly passive-aggressive and immature.

This man has no responsibility for your feelings. He has no requirement to inform you in some faux-honorable way that he no longer wants to date you. It doesn't work that way. It never has, and besides, what did you expect would happen? That he would call up and say, "My dear, I can no long continue this magical voyage of ours..." and you'd what? Talk him down?

NO. Be an adult. If you want to talk to someone, pick up the phone and fucking call them. Don't play games. Don't wait on his call, counting the days and hours... don't lie to yourself and say, "Well, he'll call if he doesn't want to see me anymore, and if doesn't he is somehow dishonorable." What are you thinking?

he had been just about to call me, was upset at the implications of my message, and didn´t want to see me again

Yeah. Good for him. He just dodged any number of melodrama-bullets, and he doesn't even know it.

Think about what you've demonstrated with your childish lashing out:

- You've revealed that you're insecure.
- You've shown that you're immature.
- You've shown that you assume the worst in people you're close to.
- You've demonstrated the possibility for future baseless relationship drama.

I have really made a doozy of a mistake here

No. This is a guy you went on eight dates with. A "doozy of a mistake" is screwing up a marriage or a long term, committed relationship. This is a tiny blip on your relationship radar and should be treated as such. Of course, you're over inflating this event just as you blew this guy's lack of phone calls out of proportion. I'm seeing a pattern here.

Is there anything I can do to fix this?

You have severely damaged this relationship. It isn't impossible to rebuild it, but it is unlikely to be healthy again from here on out. You may convince this guy to see you again, but only if he is horny - he probably won't be interested in pursuing anything serious with you, because you've flaked seriously on him.

Have I just made a mistake in getting to emotionally attached here, is it time to cut my losses and try to forget about him?

Honey, you ain't got no losses to cut. Sure, in your mind, you were all invested in this relationship - but that's exactly your problem! You have no stake with this guy.

I really dislike the process of dating new people in general, this was a rare pleasant surprise.

A.) No one likes dating.

B.) After eight dates you and this guy were just spinning your wheels. If that's a "pleasant surprise" for you then I'm sorry for you.

There is a whole world of crazy passion out there that doesn't take four to six days to call you up. Let this guy go, put him out of your mind, learn what you can, and move on to the next guy.
posted by wfrgms at 10:28 PM on November 25, 2008 [22 favorites]


Alright...let's tone things down a bit. It's not the end of the world as you know it. It's not a black and white situation, where he's wrong and you're right, or vice versa.

It sounds to me like BOTH parties, you and him, behaved badly. Neither of you is exactly mature, secure and thinking straight. Where does that leave you? Forget about him, for one thing. Focus on finding your own peace and contentment, for another. Only when you are in the right frame of mind will you attract the right person and be able to make something of a relationship.
posted by randomstriker at 11:27 PM on November 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


You acted crazy. He realized, "Wow, this woman is crazy, I need to stay away from her."

I agree with wfrgms, and all the others who say you just need to let this go. You messed up, sure; but it also sounds like he wasn't that interested in you, anyway. (Perhaps you had already, in other ways, been signaling very needy/dependent qualities?)

You can use this as a very valuable learning experience, and what you've learned here will help you build a more solid relationship with someone else.
posted by jayder at 12:26 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


So.

You are "...under the effect of weird twitterpattion brain chemicals that are having an effect on my thinking and emotions", which is not a particularly good way to be if you want to get in a nice, stable relationship.

And he is the kind of person who is unforgiving and uncommitted to the relationship that you had, such that one phone call freak-out meant he's through with you.

I'm of the opinion that there was nothing to see here; you were feeling crushy, and were perhaps blind to his lack of involvement, and his behavior triggered your behavior which exposed his lack of involvement.

Stick with the dating scene, make it a point to date only guys for whom you feel that spark, or feel like there's a chance you'll develop it (life's too short to do anything else!) but accept that you're not always going to be in the same mental state as the other person, and that can turn a decent thing into an ex-thing. It just happens, no big deal.

Oh, and I don't recommend calling him back. If you do, it'll either sound like you're begging (which won't do any good), like you're scolding (which won't do any good) or...well, no, those are the only two options. In fact, NOT calling is the only thing that might work, inasmuch as your not following up shows him you're confident and not-as-needy-as-he-thought, and so he might call you.

having said that, if he does, I wouldn't take that call if I were you. move on.

Incidentally, regarding your "twitterpation" -- Danny Bonaduce once said his wife gave him great advice, that you can be insane but nobody will know about it unless you tell them. You might want to consider expanding your social circle, first so that you won't feel like your current relationship is as important, and second so that you have someone other than the object of your affection to talk to about your object of affection.

Case in point: I work with a brilliant and beautiful woman who was having major relationship trouble, over and over. Then, while having a less-than-thrilling new relationship with one guy, she met another. The overlap of meeting the second guy socially while dating the first guy helped her form a friendship with the second guy that wasn't freaky or strange or desperate, and when she realized it was a potentially great relationship opportunity, she dropped the other guy and went for the new one (they're doing great, by the way; luckily he turns out to be a winner so far.) That, plus she had me (non-dating-material guy-friend) to talk to about her relationship issues, and to help her decide not to do some foolish things she would have otherwise done to sabotage herself.

Good luck!
posted by davejay at 12:27 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, just come right out and call her a fucking idiot, guys. Jesus.

Honey, look. Yeah, you might me wet behind the ears as far as dating's concerned, but "I was just about to call you"? Really? Seriously?

Uh, no. I think I've dated this guy before, and he's a douche. He wants everything his way. He doesn't want to call you more than once a week or so. Yeah, okay. Is that call usually about making plans to meet/hook/up? And then when you call him and say that you'd appreciate a call back, he's all

"Oh, well I was JUST ABOUT TO CALL YOU!"

Really? The phone was in his hand and he was DIALING YOUR NUMBER ZOMG. Wow, if anything, that means it's ~*fate*~. [/sarcasm]

This guy hasn't treated you with respect. You called him on his bullshit and he's trying to use that against you. Quit thinking about him and focus your attention either on yourself or on finding someone that'll treat you like the great person you are.

Two words: fuck him.

Two more: not literally.
posted by damnjezebel at 1:44 AM on November 26, 2008 [18 favorites]


Before you do anything, wait two weeks. Spend that time as you normally would, with a little thinking here and there about whether or not this guy is worth it and whether or not he was even interested. Cool yourself down and wean yourself off of the intense emotions.

If, after cooling off for two weeks, you still think he's not a jerk that was just blowing you off, try to talk to him one more time, calmly. If he is in fact a good guy that happened to be extremely busy and scared by what he thought was neediness, the fact that you were able to restrain yourself for a while will make you look disciplined and less needy to him which may help with reconciliation.

Consider this, though: if this guy just happens to be that way all the time - completely non-communicative for five days at a time - is that something you're going to be able to live with in a relationship? I know some people can, but most people at least want some text messages every couple of days from their significant other.
posted by ignignokt at 1:55 AM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd quite happily fail to contact someone for five days, if I was busy and we were not particularly deeply involved. This would seem reasonable to me. If they said "This low level of interaction isn't really working for me, can we either get more serious about this or break it off", this would seem like a sensible adult response and I'd give it some careful thought.

If they left a message like yours, I would think that they had absolutely zero skills for negotiating differences and disagreements in a relationship, and I would think that every time we have a difference in the future, it is going to turn into major crying drama, accusations, and a complete failure to even attempt to see my actions in a positive light.

Nothing and nobody is worth that level of drama in my life.

What I would do if I were you is go and read some books about productive ways to disagree with people. "Getting to Yes" is one such - it's aimed at more businesslike negotiating, but the principles are the same. Here's another book that talks about understanding your own feelings and how they are affecting your handling of a situation.

I don't suppose that any amount of learning would get this man back, but it might prevent a repeat of the situation. People who will put up with behaviour like yours are not the kind of people you want to be in a relationship with.
posted by emilyw at 2:34 AM on November 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Danny Bonaduce once said his wife gave him great advice, that you can be insane but nobody will know about it unless you tell them.

That has to be the best thing I've ever read.

I agree with the commenters who guessed his "I was just about to call you" line is bull, but speaking as a woman with genuine time pressures if a man left a message accusing me of this-that-and-the-other because he didn't get a call I would react the same way he did: respond quickly and get out of there. I would rather have twenty minutes of quality, fun chat once a week than so-so meh-I'm-tired conversations every night, and try to let people know that up front.

8 dates is enough for you to know you can feel this way about someone. Now get out there and feel it for someone else. Only be cool this time. You'll be fine.
posted by methylsalicylate at 3:04 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


There´s been a consistent pattern for me of stressing out that I won´t hear from him again after I haven´t heard from him in 4 to 6 days.

If you want to talk to someone you can always call them. It's not 1950, I'm not sure why you're waiting for the guy to call anyway. Some of your insecurity might be tied in with believing you don't have a say in how the relationship develops. You do.
posted by headnsouth at 3:51 AM on November 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I like what UbuRoivas said in this thread:

Desperation (n): What would otherwise be thought of as wonderful & romantic confidence & proactive behaviour, if only it came from the right person.

Assuming there isn't some genuine reason he couldn't have any contact - you shouldn't feel guilty about wanting to have some sort of communication more often than 4-6 days. Obviously the way you went about this leaves a lot to be desired, but if he's really interested in you he will contact you. If not, well, you're better of waiting for someone who does want to hear from you more often.
posted by serak at 5:12 AM on November 26, 2008


Oh, sweetie, I am so sorry. I have to disagree with the piling-on above. I think most people have been where you are at some point, and I must point out that sometimes, when one is older, dating gets more difficult because people are just...weirder. That's been my experience.

damnjezebel and drjimmy are correct. When people are falling in love, they can't get enough of each other, and there aren't a mean of 5-day intervals between contact. He was keeping you at arm's length. The fact that this happened is GOOD, because it means you can move on to someone better-suited to you and, as others have mentioned, enjoy a more passionate love.

Important to remember: You can't mess up the right thing.

My best friend told me that years ago as I struggled with relationships and did batty things as well. Truer words have never been spoken. My fiance has heroically dealt with my commitmentphobic tactics that kept everyone else away. I never thought I'd meet someone who had a work-around for my distancing behaviors, and I am your age. You will find someone who will laugh at your antics and love you as you are. I found this person when I committed to knowing myself better and being comfortable with myself, as people upthread have mentioned.

Please don't beat yourself up! Laugh about it with your girlfriends and don't take yourself too seriously. Yes, a learning experience, but you will meet someone who doesn't provoke these insecurities (that everyone has no matter how they bluster). We've all met people who bring out the crazy in us. Look for the person who doesn't do so. Good luck!
posted by Punctual at 5:56 AM on November 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


I believe that your relationship with this guy is over (sorry), but that you should examine what happened so that it doesn't happen again with someone who is really into you. Because even if I had a huge crush on you, a message like that would have caused serious misgivings with me.

I can understand not wanting to besiege a potential romantic partner with calls/texts/emails, but after four to six days you are not being crazy stalker by giving him a call and asking how he's been. Additionally, based on that call you should be able to get a feeling of whether he's been overloading with work (Anon! I'm so glad you called!) or if he's been allowing the relationship to fade out (Oh, uh, hey anon.... Look, I can't talk right now because I'm swamped, but I'll try to email you or something, okay?)

Also, and this is important, you should probably get someone to talk you down from wanting to leave crazy voicemail messages. Honestly, even if I had been way into you and happened to have a good reason for not calling, that message would have been a dealbreaker. After eight dates, calling someone up and accusing them of having another girlfriend on the side? Oh, dear, no. And I think you realize that based on how you describe the call (stupid, idiocy, etc).

Do you think that you are good at reading between the lines? Because relationships, in the beginning stages, have a lot of signs about whether or not the other person is interested in dating you, interested in being friends, or not interested at all. If you think things are going well, you call them after a few days. Invite them to do something. If they want to keep seeing you, they will accept, or decline and invite you to do something else later. That's when the relationship ball is in their court. You could make a last effort a few weeks later, but you should definitely be moving on.

I agree with davejay above - having people in your life can keep you grounded during the 'twitterpatted' moments when you're seeing someone new. At the very least you could call them and bitch about this guy who you really liked and now is being a jerk by not calling you back instead of leaving ill-conceived voicemails.
posted by amicamentis at 6:27 AM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you had left that message on my phone, and we'd been out on some so-so dates but without a lot of chemistry, I would have responded exactly like he did. Life is way, way too short for that kind of drama once you are over the age of 18; my experience has been that people don't become less nutty as a relationship continues. So yeah, crazy behavior at the beginning is more than just a red flag -- it's a huge blinking neon sign saying "run, run far away before you wake up one morning to see her sitting on the foot of your bed holding a butcher knife and a trussed-up rooster."

I mean, look at your writing. You are in your mid-30s, and you are using words like "twitterpation" about yourself with a straight face? That really twee and high-drama style of behavior is offputting to all but the most drama-loving of drama-queens, and those aren't guys you want to date.

But at the same time, Punctual is right: I think most people have been where you are at some point, and You can't mess up the right thing.

We all have been there, and you deserve a lot better than a guy who, after eight dates, isn't excited about you enough to call once in a while. It just sounds like the chemistry wasn't there for whatever reason. When it is there, and there is a good, mutual sense of interest and respect, then you both will want to call each other and giggle over your "twitterpation" brain chemicals or whatever.

I think what was going on, really, was less that you were being nutty (which you were) then that you were being nutty towards a guy who wasn't interested in you. If he's interested, then maybe it would have been cute, or he would already have left a weirder message on your phone, and had his own thing to be embarrassed about. Definitely I think you need to tone it all down about three notches, but at the same time you deserve a guy who is as passionate towards you as you will be towards him.

You deserve way, way better than this, and I hope you find it.
posted by Forktine at 6:46 AM on November 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


This isn't meant to sound harsh, but if he were really into you, he would have just called back and talked things over. I can sympathize with this guy, but I think I really nice person would probably have helped you save face.

I think it's best that you not contact him again because it hurts more to be rejected if you've put yourself out on the line several times. You apologized; he ignored it. It sounds like he took the low road. If he's that easily spooked, he might not be the right person for you.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:51 AM on November 26, 2008


P.S. Relationships do bring out teh crazy. I think most of us have questioned our sanity after an awkward outburst. I admit it, I have.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:57 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately I think your message throws up quite a few red flags, as in psycho-type flags. I would have moved on, too, especially if the guy is so great and the relationship had seemed as low-key as you make it out to be. If you had concerns, you should have spoken to him face to face, in a gentler, more mature manner. Now he has a voice mail that he can play for his friends or anyone else that needs to hear it; proof that you seem nutty. The message should have been, "Hi, haven't heard from you in a while. Just wanted to say hi, hear your voice and get together sometime."

His not calling you is perfectly acceptable, as it was the modus operandi of the relationship to that point. Again, if you had concerns and wanted more contact, you should have done it without pulling a Glenn Close.

I would chalk it up to experience and learn to not make (ostensibly) accusatory and overly-needy remarks in a fit of emotion. I would have expected a thirty-something, even with limited romantic experience, to have learned this - at least tangentially.

You can't mess up the right thing.

LOL. "Fate" has nothing to do with this, and this kind of attitude will not help you. Decent relationships take a lot of mutual effort and respect. You can't expect someone to put up with your clingy half-mental shit just because "he's mister right". He's not the one who called YOU and made it seems like you were abandoning him.
posted by dozo at 7:02 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


WOW WHAT A COINCIDENCE! He had been ignoring you for a week but was just about to call you right the very moment you finally got frustrated. That part in particular just screams "manipulative bullshit designed to make the victim feel bad and question herself."

Or he was busy, and was going to all you when he got around to it.

It's funny, though-- if he was indeed following the thirtysomething male playbook-- how effective the I'm-less-interested-and-less-available-than-you tactic is at both intensifying your desire for him and exposing your character flaws.

Some of these answers-- "You can do better", "You called him on his bullshit", "He was looking for an exit", "cowardly", "manipulative"-- are a bit nutty.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:14 AM on November 26, 2008


Here's a different way to look at it. Let's say you can convince him to date you again. Then you will have:
- A guy that you had to convince to date you.
- A guy who will not call you for 4-6 days between dates, and on a good date may let you know that he'll ask you out for another date, someday.

Is that really what you want? Instead, don't you want a guy who is all crazy for you the way you've been crazy for this guy?

Which sounds better to you?
- I'm emotionally attached. I'm like a crazy teenager again. I'm twitterpating (or whatever). I'm having to restrain myself from besieging him with email/voicemail.
- OR -
- We're emotionally attached. We are like crazy teenagers again. We're twitterpating. We have to restrain ourselves from besieging each other with email/voicemail... and dates and phone calls.
posted by Houstonian at 7:20 AM on November 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Important to remember: You can't mess up the right thing.

This is terrible advice. Don't go through life waiting for some guy with issues so that your issues will mesh with and you can be all crazy and drama together. Work on your insecurity, try to become a more relaxed and mature person, and not only will you have more opportunities to meet interesting people, but you won't end up locked in a drama queen's dream of a marriage for the rest of your life.
posted by miss tea at 7:23 AM on November 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is terrible advice. Don't go through life waiting for some guy with issues so that your issues will mesh with and you can be all crazy and drama together. Work on your insecurity, try to become a more relaxed and mature person, and not only will you have more opportunities to meet interesting people, but you won't end up locked in a drama queen's dream of a marriage for the rest of your life.

How likely is it that she would have these insecurities if there was someone who wanted to see/speak to her as much as she wanted to see/speak to them?
posted by serak at 7:49 AM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


How likely is it that she would have these insecurities if there was someone who wanted to see/speak to her as much as she wanted to see/speak to them?

But that's not an excuse for the way the OP handled this situation, and that's the crux of the matter because that's what ruined things. You can feel insecure and not take it out on other people. Life is hard in general and you have to learn how to deal with it without taking it out on other people. Saying, oh, well, if life was perfect then I wouldn't have any problem handling my own emotions, that's escape fantasy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:53 AM on November 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Okay, I can agree most of the previous posters in someway. You did screw up, but he his behavior is more than a little lackluster.

You exhibited what my sister and I call "crazy girl behavior" (which we've both participated in). You were in a situation where it would have been perfectly fine for you to call and see what was up, but you went too far. At eight dates when you are still in a casual dating mode, sharing your analysis of what he may be doing or feeling in such a dramatic manner is going to turn most guys off. It signifies drama and angst, and men will run, run away. So this is a learning situation for you. The next time you get all worked up in the early part of a relationship and want to make dramatic/overreaching statements (especially on a voice or email) just stop. Really, stop. You have to learn to control those impulses until you dial the intensity of the message back from 11.

That said, I agree that if he is controlling the time you spend together, and doesn't want to communicate more than on a weekly basis, then it was right for you to say something. Something may have sounded more like this on a voicemail, "Hey I was just thinking about you, and wondering when we might get together again. Give me a call". If he called you back and was dismissive or annoyed that you reached out to him outside of his time schedule, then it would have been appropriate to say something like "It looks like our needs aren't coinciding. I really like you and have enjoyed hanging out. But at this point for things to work, I need someone who is a little more accessible." I have no idea what his reaction might have been... but at least you would have conveyed your needs in a proactive and dignified manner, and without seeming needy or crazy.

As it is he very well may have been fooling around, or "just not that into you", and you gave him the easy way out at your expense.
posted by kimdog at 8:08 AM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero, I don't mean to say the way she handled the situation is excusable. However, she's asking how to fix it and I don't think it's worth while trying to be with someone who isn't even interested in you enough to send a quick text message. She's apologised and as long as she has learned from her mistake she should move on.
posted by serak at 8:18 AM on November 26, 2008


How likely is it that she would have these insecurities if there was someone who wanted to see/speak to her as much as she wanted to see/speak to them?

That's just not how it works with insecurity. Lots of people are completely insecure, and think that if only someone cared for them it would just magically go away and they would feel better about themselves. But once that person shows up, they still feel crappy about themselves, and worthless, and secretly don't trust that person because why would he want to be with such a loser? The way to become a secure, comfortable person is to work on that stuff as an individual so that when you do meet the right person you can have a truly adult, compatible, passionate relationship without the bullshit and drama.

I'm not trying to crap on the OP, I think she responded the way a lot of people would respond, to some poor communication on the guy's part. But telling her that she should continue to act that way and not deal with the insecurities and issues below the surface is setting her up for a lifetime of pain, and she doesn't deserve that.
posted by miss tea at 8:19 AM on November 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


What you did was create a crisis, a tactic which is generally very effective at getting things resolved. However, the resolution you wish for may be lost in the scorching flames created by the crisis.

Somewhere in your subconscious you know this guy is someone who probably doesn't value your friendship as much as you value his (and likely never will). Whether there's another woman or whether you have personality defects is beside the point. The overriding issue (and the one which finally provoked you) is this guy's behavior toward you--which by your description seems like that of someone deliberately doing an extended back and forth parry which ultimately keeps you at arms length--was not tolerable to you. People generally react in some way to things that don't feel good and your reaction was to express your disappointment in an overly dramatic way which gave him (and yourself) an easy avenue out of the situation.

Consider yourself fortunate that you are now forced to accept the reality of the ball being in his court, where any future activity will continue being up to him. Don't be that girl, the one who just will not be dismissed or ignored. Move on.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:21 AM on November 26, 2008


You stated a true thing. Maybe there's somebody else. He hit the roof. I don't think you were crazy; maybe a tad desperate. I don't think it's salvageable.

You might be happier/more successful in romance, if you valued yourself more highly.
posted by theora55 at 8:27 AM on November 26, 2008


"No one likes dating"?

When people are falling in love, they can't get enough of each other

That's more of a warning sign that you're too clingy.
posted by Zambrano at 8:38 AM on November 26, 2008


Important to remember: You can't mess up the right thing.

Alrighty then, I'm drain off to drain mine and the wife's savings, take drugs, drink some beer, sleep with someone else and ignore any questions my wife will ask about my behavior!

It's entirely possible to mess up the right thing, especially if you're behavior is immature and hurtful of the other person. To expect someone to put of with your crazy shit is the height of arrogance and self absorption that would make a teenager recall in horror.

I was frustrated that I hadn´t heard from him, called and left a message asking when I would see him again and saying something to the effect of that if he didn´t want to see me again I would find it more honorable if he would let me know.

You pulled the "I'm full of drama" card, forcing him to pull the "I don't need this shit" card. Can't say I blame him, based on what you wrote her. That phone call was the equivalent of pulling up in front of his house with an eighteen wheeler full of baggage. You don't mention any time frames of when this occurred, so I can't judge whether he was full of shit about "just getting ready to call you," but I can say that such a response is understandable after what you pulled.


Should I just figure this is one of those painful learning experiences?

Yeah. Don't date crazy people and don't be the crazy person person don't want to date.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:53 AM on November 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


Since one of the causes of your problems here is a rigid belief in the way things ought to unfold in relationships, I'd advise ignoring the many posters here who seem to have their own rigid ideas about this. (eg: "When people are falling in love, they can't get enough of each other, and there aren't a mean of 5-day intervals between contact.") You have your approach, and he has his; either one can be motivated by noble reasons or crazy/manipulative ones. Neither is right or wrong. But it seems like instead of asking him to help clarify a relationship you yourself called "undefined", you left a message implying -- perhaps even explicitly stating -- that your view of how things ought to be was objectively right and his was objectively wrong. You'll find plenty of people on AskMe willing to enable and reaffirm you in this belief, but believing it will just make you miserable.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:55 AM on November 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I can't really add a lot to that's been said, after the multitude of opinions. It really could be you're nutty, or it could be he's a dumbass, or it could be a bit of both. But we don't know enough about either one of you or about the relationship to accurately state which one is which. So, I'm reading this as a little bit of both. I don't think you're totally nutty (read: you're a bit insecure and you shoot your mouth off easily), and this guy was keeping you at a safe distance, possibly giving out ambiguous signs that he's not really into the relationship, but-maybe-later-who-knows. Put these two together and you get what you got. So, yeah, you shouldn't have left that message. I mean, you have something to say either call him up or say it next time you're together, after you've had time to think and at a time the other person is there to answer. Again, it was a bit passive-aggressive, but maybe it does have something to do with the fact this guy's demeanor sends you spiraling down. That is not escape fantasy, it's something to think about. Happy, good, honest relationships aren't about being obsessed with dubious people.

I don't think there's much you should do. Other than possibly talk to the guy because I mean, this back and forth voicemail thing is weird. [But I'm not an American, so maybe this is cultural]. In any case, his actions (or lack thereof) drive you off the wall and nutty, which in turn turns him off to the point he goes for the easiest, most guilt inducing arguments in an effort to let himself off the hook easy. This is not a winner of a relationship. Best chalk it up to learning experience and believe next time around will be better.
posted by neblina_matinal at 9:01 AM on November 26, 2008


I think a lot of people on this thread are pretty unforgiving. Yeah what you did was immature and annoying, but really not that uncommon or that horrible of an offense. Yes, if a person did this over and over, I would consider it a dumpable offense, but really one immature, insecure voicemail is enough to end something with someone you really like? I have a hard time believing any relationship could survive that long without some sort of trivial offense like this occurring.
posted by whoaali at 9:13 AM on November 26, 2008


Cut your losses with this one. Do not contact him again! Period! (NO EXCUSES) Time to move on to some thing and someone better. But as you move on and involve yourself in other things, reflect on why you felt motivated to leave messages in accusatory tones with zero information. Put yourself in the situation. No one likes to be on the receiving end of baseless accusations or hearsay. What would you think of that person and their motivations?

The simple explanation is that he obviously has poor communication skills. Another simple explanation is that his degree of interest in you was probably not the same as yours for him. This happens in every human interaction, romantic or not. It has no deeper meaning.

Be good to yourself, and work now in the short term to boost your self-esteem. Might also help to question your beliefs on love and how relationships work. Others here have pointed out some of the incongruous beliefs you hold (clingy, etc.). There is utterly NO true or right pattern for love or how two people connect with each other. Being open, honest, and self-confident are ways to prepare yourself for love. And to twist a phrase my mom used to use regarding friendship "To be a lover, you have to love yourself." When you're being hard on yourself, and use those insecurities to act out against others by hitting them with baseless accusations, you're not really expressing love, are you?

I feel what I'm saying here may be perceived as harsh, but trust me, I've done exactly what you've done (a long time ago in my past) and I luckily, with the help of brutally honest friends and peers who weren't afraid of a little truth telling and who knew I could simply do better. I made adjustments in my own life and in my own behavior to evolve to a point of security in my self-perception, and love flows abundantly for me as I trust it will for you, too.
posted by kuppajava at 9:14 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


First of all, could we start dropping the assumption that all women in their 30's are desperate, out of control losers who are waiting to pounce on the first guy that shows any interest? I know we have a disparity here, but I'm not entering these threads thinking that guys in the 30's who aren't in a relationship are clearly broken because they've never gotten a woman to stick around long enough.

The stereotype cuts both ways, and dropping the baggage could be helpful to folks.

[end public service announcement]

Hi, anonymous.

You didn't necessarily do anything wrong, per se. The problem with long distance/virtual/online courtship is that it's a lot like managing a team remotely. If someone's sitting in front of me in a meeting, I can see that they're engaged and they're listening and they're taking notes, so even if they don't ask any questions during the meeting, I have a reasonable sense that they were paying attention. But the folks who are remote I don't get that from, so when they don't ask any questions during the call, don't email questions later, don't respond to my emails with notes and clarifications with any questions, and don't ping me on IM, you know what happens? The week after the meeting I am CALLING THEM whether they are in India or Costa Rica or Vermont, and demanding detailed status. Now, sometimes it turns out that the guy in India or the gal in Vermont is totally on target, but because they are poor communicators, they force me into a position where I have to be the bad guy (or gal, as the case may be).

So I fix this by telling everyone on my team right up front, and remind them every so often, that because they are remote we have to over-communicate, and they cannot possibly ever 'bother' me with emails and questions and IM's.

So here we are, with Mr. Random Dude, and you think it's going great, but it's not like he's totally local, and it doesn't sound like you're friends enough that you're shooting each other emails and Facebook comments and text messages, it's either he's talking to you or it's radio silence. Maybe he likes it that way; maybe he doesn't want to seem like Mr. Random Stalker Dude.

What I usually tried to do, in the past, is communicate in the same fashion I would like to be communicated to. If the person didn't respond in kind, then I would be more explicit the next time I saw them: 'Y'know, I really like hanging out with you, and I'd love it if we could talk a little more between times. I know I've been emailing/sending links/texts/etc, is that okay with you?" And then you'll find out that they totally had no idea that you felt they weren't communicating enough, or that they didn't want to 'bother' you, or that they've been totally heads down on this crappy work project and don't do anything at home except eat and sleep...

...or Mr. Random Dude could act all annoyed and like you are imposing on his time. And *that's* when you know that you two aren't on the same wavelength.

It is totally okay to be a woman who needs a lot of attention. It is also totally okay to be a guy who likes his space. What's not great is if you don't communicate that to him. You need to take ownership of your relationships and be specific about what you want and need. I know we all think that it's "better" if the other person telepathically understands our desires, but that's Hollywood movie bullshit. Isn't it "better" if the other person just knows what it is you want?
posted by micawber at 9:39 AM on November 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sometimes it isn't worthwhile to try and pick up the scraps of a very new relationship because there's nothing to fight for, no committment to try and preserve or trust to re-build because these things didn't exist in the first place. I know it's hard to think of it this way when you haven't had a ton of experience, but many people would not view eight dates as bestowing any obligations of honour upon them... so it's unforutnate that he didn't seek to end things with you in a straightforward way but I think his actions speak for themselves. It seems to me like he was waiting for an 'out' and you gave him one.

I also think you should question what you might gain from re-connecting with this fellow. He's already shown that he's inattentive, not very sensitive and not interested in having regular contact as much as you would like. And you've demonstrated that he doesn't bring out the best in you. If you were to continue seeing each other, wouldn't this incident keep you constantly on edge, questioning him and yourself? Would you not always think that you talked him into dating you, instead of having him follow his own feelings? I worry that it might make you reluctant to speak up if/when something really IS wrong because you'll think "well, I shouldn't over-react again"...

I recommend giving up the ghost and finding someone new. Best of luck.
posted by cranberrymonger at 10:10 AM on November 26, 2008


Also, an aside: I'm not a big fan of the word "twitterpation" and this type of speech might be off-putting to others too.
posted by cranberrymonger at 10:12 AM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hi, anonymous.

You didn't necessarily do anything wrong, per se.


No, calling up someone and acting passive aggressive when what you really want to do is go on a date with them, is wrong, period, full stop.

That she did this doesn't make Anonymous some Hitler like creature, it was most certainly the wrong thing to do. As always with relationships, you should ask for what you want or need and if the other person is unable to do that then reevaluate the relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:17 AM on November 26, 2008


First, I think you need to accept that if it is going to get better, he's going to be the one which is going to make the move to make it better. You could try a short apologetic letter.

I know for me that as I get older, I tend to see these sorts of incidents as dealbreakers more and more. That's because experience has told me that red flags usually mean something. That doesn't mean the person is terrible, it means they aren't right for me.

In the future, if you want more, ask for it. Stand up for what you want. If the person says no, you weren't going to get what you wanted anyway.

Now it is time to forgive yourself for being human.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


First of all, could we start dropping the assumption that all women in their 30's are desperate, out of control losers who are waiting to pounce on the first guy that shows any interest? I know we have a disparity here, but I'm not entering these threads thinking that guys in the 30's who aren't in a relationship are clearly broken because they've never gotten a woman to stick around long enough.

Where the heck did this come from? Was there a deleted comment I am just missing?
posted by miss tea at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2008


There was a thread here a few weeks ago, but I have no idea what words to use to search for it, that boiled down to, "Is it okay to tell Guy Who Hasn't Called "hey, just let me know if you want me to go away?" The answer turned out to be "Hell, no." Here's why:

(a) The guy may react the way yours did and go batshit nuts.
(b) The guy may say, "Oh, sorry, I've been busy. Call you soon" in order to get off the phone guilt free, and then DOESN'T.
(c) The guy will continue to say not a damned thing and still force you to "get the hint."

(Usually, it's c.)

No guy will ever be honest to you about this, so it's a waste of time (or makes things uglier in the end) to try to ask a guy why he hasn't called and if he just wants you to go away. Unfortunately, we're stuck with "take the hint, bitch" if he hasn't called for a week or a month.

Bottom line here is yeah, you messed up and went crazy, but on the other hand, his reaction was also pretty weird and jerky. I think you're better off without him.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:41 PM on November 26, 2008


miss tea: The way to become a secure, comfortable person is to work on that stuff as an individual so that when you do meet the right person you can have a truly adult, compatible, passionate relationship without the bullshit and drama.

There are a lot of good observations in this thread, but this is the one that gets to the absolute heart of the matter.
posted by scody at 3:01 PM on November 30, 2008


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