Guy apologize for behaving like a jerk and cries, yet still acts like a jerk, why?
April 14, 2010 4:34 PM   Subscribe

What does it mean when a guy apologize and cries in front of you yet still behaves inappropriately?

hi, mefi community:
I'm a 29 year old without prior dating experience and I posted previously about a guy from my graduate school that I went out with. He ended up taking advantage of my naivety in relationships and became the first person I made out with, kissed and had sex with, is very good at both sweet-talk and being physically aggressive. Luckily, I had friends that looked out for me and warned me about him and the mefi community also gave me great advice on the true intention of this guy, so I broke things off with him in the end (had to do that twice).

Now I will not go back to this guy as now I think he never truly liked me in the first place and is only using me for sex. But I wanted to get the mefi community's opinion on a surprising event that happened after I broke up with him for good the second time around.

Basically after I broke up with him the second time, we didn't speak or see each other at school, until I saw him at a school party entirely randomly. I was really pissed when I saw him and brushed him off all night long even as he tries to talk to me. At the end of night I took this student home and he asked me to gave him a ride, I can't say no when the other student is besides him at the time because no one at the school knows about us so it'd be awkward to refuse helping a classmate. So I agreed to give him a ride.

The other student got off first, when I was alone with him. He says he wanted to tell something. Then he started apologize for behaving disrespectfully towards me. He says I'm this amazing incredible woman and he's lucky to having gotten to know me and spent time with me. He wanted me to know that things didn't work out have nothing to do with me and everything to do with him because he's not emotionally available. Then he started telling me why he broke up with his two exes, both of which are serious. He said his parents divorce affected him and led him to have a fear to commitment. As he was talking about his parents, his eyes welled up and he cried in front of me. By the way, we were sitting by the pool in his apartment complex at this point. But we moved into his apartment because the security guard kicked us out of the pool area. He still wanted to talk and I felt bad since he was crying. Once we were inside the apartment, he apologized more, saying he made a lot of mistakes with me, that I deserve better because he can't give me anything. I broke down at this point because what he did really affected me emotionally, also, my parents recently got divorced and I wasn't able to share that with anyone. So I told him about my parents divorce and he hugged me really tight.

Anyway, after the emotional outpour and we both quieted down, he started showing me his music collection, telling me about his past, his family, started joking around. Then he said he was really tired, lied down on the couch and wanted me to lie down besides him. I was like, NO way! he said he was really tired, so he's not going to put the moves on me. He just wanted to feel someone besides him. Oh, he also tried to kiss me. It was 3 or 4am around this time.

I eventually left, we didn't have sex again. He fell asleep and I refused to lie down besides him on the bed. About a week or so later, he told me that he realized breaking up with his ex was a huge mistake and he wanted her back desperately. He said they had a happy healthy relationship and were talking of getting married. But he dumped her all of sudden because of religion. He's Jewish and both his ex and I are Asian. He thought religion was really important at the time, but now he realized he threw away a great relationship. And he was only using religion when he really feared commitment due to his parents divorce.

I believed his apology were genuine at the time I heard them because he cried. It was totally unexpected. I thought he cared about me in some form then, but now I felt his apologies were insincere and he never even liked me because if he's truly sincere in apologizing to me, he should ask to set up a time to meet and talk during the daytime, not wait until I spontaneously bump into him at a school party. He would also not trying to make out with me (I didn't know at the time, but he told me later that he realized breaking up with ex was a mistake was the day before I broke up with him the 2nd time) when he already know he wants to go back with his ex.
Also, although I don't know the details of his relationship w/his ex, it's quite a coincidence that he happens to figure out that the break up was a mistake during the weeks that I refused to see him.

I know I'm probably over-analyzing again, but I wanted to hear mefi community's opinions. It'll help me in making better decisions when encounter similar situations in the future.

posted by wcmf to Human Relations (66 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What is your question exactly?
posted by Dr. Send at 4:37 PM on April 14, 2010

The crying was an attempt to manipulate you. In spite of his "apology," he is still a jerk. Run.
posted by corey flood at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [19 favorites]

What does it mean when a guy apologize and cries in front of you yet still behaves inappropriately?

He isn't to be believed.
posted by anti social order at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]

This is the sort of unstable and manipulative person your stay the hell away from if you value your sanity and, more importantly, safety. My keyboard is broken so excuse my terseness.
posted by griphus at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

He undoubtedly liked you and at the same time, his apology was as insincere as his tears -- those things, unfortunately, can co-exist. You are not over-analyzing, you are right on the money and GOOD for you. He is using his "feelings" to tyrannize you and have sex with you again. That's all there is to it, unfortunately. Good luck and stay strong.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

I say take it at face value, but no more than that.

Sounds like he was pretty emotional. Sometimes things don't have anything to do with you. I'm not sure I would have gone inside with him, but hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and sometimes that means giving people a chance to say their piece when they're ready to do it. I wouldn't downplay the sincerity of his apology based on the information you've given here, but neither would I be prepared to jump back into bed with him. He's sorry, and you can forgive him, but that can be all there is to it.

It looks to me like you've learned your lesson with this guy and have no intentions of getting back together with him, which, given his self-confessed track record, sounds like a good plan. But just because you don't want to be with him doesn't mean you can't care about him.
posted by valkyryn at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Basically the only answer to this question you're going to see is something along the lines of "stay away from this guy, ignore that he 'apologized' through crocodile tears, and never speak to him again." Then some variation of DTMFA, other fish in the sea, bipolar, blah blah blah. So, I'd do that.
posted by disillusioned at 4:40 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

He's manipulative. He was manipulating you. If you softened up, he could play you that much longer. He had nothing to lose by pretending to be wounded, and everything to gain if you were naive enough to buy it.
posted by headspace at 4:41 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

I want to know if my intuition is correct this time. That the guy is insincere in his apologies, he only use it as an opportunity to seduce me into making out with him. Since he's the only guy I've been involved with in a "relationship", I don't have any reference points on the signals to watch out for. This is so I can make better decisions about relationships in the future and not getting taken advantage of again.
posted by wcmf at 4:41 PM on April 14, 2010

It's been years since I've dated, so I tend to treat questions like this in a sort of How would I advise one of my daughters sort of lens, and I'd advise them to run like a rabbit in the other direction. Trust your gut.
posted by jquinby at 4:42 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

He's manipulative and immature. I'd avoid him at all costs. He's not worth your time. There are decent men out there and he is not one of them.
posted by chiababe at 4:43 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is it possible for a guy to be such a jerk towards me and truly have a happy and healthy relationship with his most ex, as he claims his last relationship to be?
posted by wcmf at 4:43 PM on April 14, 2010

sorry, I meant his most recent ex, not his most ex. Typo there.
posted by wcmf at 4:46 PM on April 14, 2010

If he's a manipulative jerk to you, why should you believe anything he says about the quality of his previous relationships? This is just another attempt to manipulate you into believing that he is capable of being part of a happy and healthy relationship, and that you're somehow to blame.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:50 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is it possible for a guy to be such a jerk towards me and truly have a happy and healthy relationship with his most ex, as he claims his last relationship to be?

Anything is possible. This guy having a happy and healthy relationship doesn't seem to be too likely. Not to be harsh, but that's none of your business, and you shouldn't try to make it your business unless you want to get pulled into drama and general silliness. This guy doesn't seem to be worth the time you're putting into thinking about him. Your intuition is correct: he can cry in front of you and still be a jerk. Avoid his company and hang out with healthy, honest, and functional people instead.
posted by _cave at 4:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

he said he was really tired, so he's not going to put the moves on me. He just wanted to feel someone besides him. Oh, he also tried to kiss me.

I'm pretty sure that big MetaTalk thread agreed we're still allowed to use the term douchebag.
posted by ecurtz at 4:57 PM on April 14, 2010

your "asshole-alert" intuition is correct. why should you believe anything he said and who cares if he DOES have a "happy and healthy relationship" with another girl? he was a tool to you, maybe he learned, but this most recent behaviour is also extremely tool-ish so i'd say odds are probably not, she probably just takes the abuse more than you did so he thinks it's a happy/healthy relationship. anyway chalk this one up to learning experience. after dating a similarly manipulative drama-queen dude who was all about the physical i learned to identify red flags really quickly in all my subsequent dating adventures.
posted by raw sugar at 5:00 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I want to know if my intuition is correct this time. That the guy is insincere in his apologies, he only use it as an opportunity to seduce me into making out with him.

Absolutely obviously no doubt about it. Stay away from this guy, and other guys like him. Whether or not his apology was sincere doesn't change the fact that he's a manipulative jerk, even if his manipulativeness stems from a lack of self-control or a mental illness or whatever. His past behaviour is a good indicator of his future behaviour.
posted by Dr. Send at 5:00 PM on April 14, 2010

posted by Jacqueline at 5:01 PM on April 14, 2010

Is it possible for a guy to be such a jerk towards me and truly have a happy and healthy relationship with his most ex, as he claims his last relationship to be?

I suppose it could happen, theoretically, but none of the manipulative gentlemen I've known have had healthy relationships. Please don't let him try to convince you that his dysfunction has anything at all to do with you. It doesn't. Trust me on this. People don't usually wake up and suddenly start using and manipulating a significant other--it's a pattern that comes from having poor relationship skills.

Avoid this guy. Your intuition is spot-on.
posted by corey flood at 5:03 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

He sounds like a manipulative asshole. And it sounds like he may like you because you're Asian, which suggests extreme emotional immaturity on his part.
posted by jayder at 5:03 PM on April 14, 2010

Stop talking to him. Stop giving him opportunities to manipulate you. Why in the world did you go into his apartment complex or his apartment? Stop.
posted by Bunglegirl at 5:03 PM on April 14, 2010

One of my exes would make ludicrous statements about what a freak in the sack his partner at the time was whenever we talked, which she'd immediately refute (we were pals). Douchebags of either gender make commentary like this to their exes because they want their exes to feel shitty. Avoid and ignore.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:04 PM on April 14, 2010

I want to know if my intuition is correct this time. That the guy is insincere in his apologies, he only use it as an opportunity to seduce me into making out with him


Is it possible for a guy to be such a jerk towards me and truly have a happy and healthy relationship with his most ex, as he claims his last relationship to be?

Maybe, but who cares? This dude is a douchebag, and he's only telling you this stuff because it clearly makes you feel like you might be special and gives him an opportunity to try and fuck you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:05 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Of course it is possible. It's also possible he is lying about that.

I would suggest that next time you write down a question for AskMe, you don't submit it right away. Give yourself an hour or two and then re-read it. Your intuition seems to be working for you, but you are already over-analyzing and putting all this up to people from the internet to discuss with you just means you will continue to go over and over these incidents in your head.

Instead, write it down, get it off your chest, take a walk around the block and then come back and look at your own question with new eyes. Not only might you gain the perspective you are looking for, you might not even go forward with submitting the question. It also might help you refrain from putting in so much extraneous detail.

I can see you are really trying to figure all this out, and more power to you, but you are getting dangerously close to "get yourself a blog territory" with this not-really-a-question question.

Good luck, and don't sweat the small stuff so much.
posted by misha at 5:13 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

Look at it this way:
1) If he's manipulative stay away.
2) If he's that emotionally unstable stay away.
3) If he breaks up with his ex over religion but they'd been going out for a while but he realizes that was wrong and it's complicated and it's this and that and blah blah blah stay away.
4) If his apology seems insincere you're probably right. And you should stay away.
5) If he says he's not going to put the moves on you then tries to kiss you, he's manipulative (see #1 and/or #2)

Is this making sense?

And you've over analyzed it. You've already spent too much valuable time thinking about him. Move on. There are 3 billion other guys in the world. The pool is gigantic.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 5:13 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

The general answer to this question would be: 99% of the time, this behavior means he wants to continue his selfish behavior by finding a way to manipulate you into letting him.

What might help you to avoid this trap of confusion is to consider that while this is bad and manipulative behavior, it is not necessarily coldly calculated to be so. Somewhere along the line, he has found that these 'talks' make him feel better, and often get him laid.

If you remember that he is probably not setting a planned trap for you, twirling his moustache all the while, and instead is just lame and selfish and not mature enough for your time, his behavior loses all of its mystifying power, and you feel better!
posted by pazazygeek at 5:14 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

He's a crazy liar and a little boy. Never talk to him again.
posted by Damn That Television at 5:16 PM on April 14, 2010

When people show you who they are, believe them.
posted by scody at 5:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

1. I want to know if my intuition is correct this time. That the guy is insincere in his apologies

2. Is it possible for a guy to be such a jerk towards me and truly have a happy and healthy relationship with his most ex, as he claims his last relationship to be?

1. It doesn't matter.
2. It doesn't matter.

Look, it may matter in the sense that you're curious about his motivations, but it doesn't matter -- or shouldn't matter -- in terms of how you handle this relationship or future relationships.

Let's say his apology was sincere. So what? He still treated you like crap, right? So you know what the healthy thing to do is with people who treat you like crap, don't you? You stay away from them. Then end.

Anything else is drama. Here's some tough love: you are doing a lot of navel gazing and dramatizing. Do it if it gives you joy. Otherwise knock it off. He was an asshole. You shouldn't waste your time on assholes. Move on. (It's not always easy to do that emotionally. But you can move on by absolutely refusing to spend time with him. If you do that, the emotions will take care of themselves over time.)

Maybe his apology was an attempt to manipulate you; maybe it wasn't. Even if it wasn't, what does that mean to you? That he's now a mature guy and you should date him? Of course not. People can really be sorry for stuff they do and continue to do that stuff anyway. Many alcoholics are sorry that they drink; many abusive parents are sorry they beat their kids. Still, they beat their kids. I'm on a diet, and I'm really sorry I ate that hamburger. And I'll probably eat another one tomorrow. And I'll be sorry about that, too.

People do change. Maybe some day this guy will grow up. But he's not going to do it overnight. And just "being sorry" doesn't mean he has grown up.

Has he had healthy relationships in the past? Who knows? Is it possible he could have had healthy relationships with other women but a manipulative one with you? Sure. It's possible. Maybe he's messed up in some way now that he wasn't back then. Or maybe he's lying to you about those past relationships. Again: who knows? The main point is: who cares? How do past relationships change anything about the way he treated you? He treated you like crap. So stay away from him. Period.

What can you learn from this? Learn to stay away from assholes. You may not always be able to detect assholes at first. But once their assholishness comes out, run.
posted by grumblebee at 5:21 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

One thing you hear a lot on askmefi is to believe people when they tell you things. I think he was entirely sincere in his apology to you, genuine in his emotional discussion of your past relationship and his and your family, and also sincere in his realization that his relationship with his ex was where he really wanted to be.

He's already shown himself to be really bad at Not putting the moves on you, which is, yes, douchey of him, but unsurprising in someone that age. You did the right thing to avoid him at that point. But the fact that he hasn't always treated you with respect doesn't mean he wasn't sincere about a lot of these other things, though, too. People are complex, and he sounds like a really conflicted guy. Emotions aren't just black and white, they're, like, Paisley with polka dots and storm clouds.

That said, he's totally right about one thing: you deserve better.
posted by ldthomps at 5:29 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

You seem like a really nice person.

Most of us have trouble grasping how totally different other people's brains operate. For example, it really is hard for me to believe that people EXIST who don't like chocolate, prefer disorder to organization, or who like conflict. When dealing with coworkers, etc., I have to keep reminding myself that not everybody is chubby, organized, or conflict-averse.

Are you seeing him, or are you seeing qualities in him that are really yours?

Don't fill in the blanks too much for other people. It's probably easy for you to imagine him being sorry, caring, emotional, etc. because you are caring and kind. You are probably doing so much over-analyzing because you can't even imagine him being as selfish, cold, and manipulative as he obviously is.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:34 PM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]

Since he's the only guy I've been involved with in a "relationship", I don't have any reference points

Everything else is covered, so I'll say there's no harm in gathering additional data re:relationships. Go on dates with some other persons. Most people aren't manipulative or out to get one over on you.
posted by anti social order at 5:40 PM on April 14, 2010

Look, this guy seems manipulative and pushy.

That said, you seem to be judging reality through some very strong and possibly distorting lenses:

Now I will not go back to this guy as now I think he never truly liked me in the first place and is only using me for sex.

"Never truly liked you in the first place"? That seems like an odd jump. "Want(ed) to have sex with you" is not necessarily equal to "Only wanted you for sex," which is not necessarily equal to "Never liked you in the first place".

>> I thought he cared about me in some form then, but now I felt his apologies were insincere and he never even liked me because if he's truly sincere in apologizing to me, he should ask to set up a time to meet and talk during the daytime, not wait until I spontaneously bump into him at a school party.

>>I thought he cared about me in some form then, but now I felt his apologies were insincere and he never even liked me

does not necessarily lead to

>> because if he's truly sincere in apologizing to me, he should ask to set up a time to meet and talk during the daytime, not wait until I spontaneously bump into him at a school party.

It's okay to make this kind of X=Y equation for yourself, but it's helpful to understand that this equation is by no means universally shared.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:56 PM on April 14, 2010

He's either 1) extremely manipulative & not beyond making himself look weak & vulnerable in order to manipulate you, or 2) extremely insecure, afraid of making big mistakes, and genuinely scared of losing the best thing he's had so far.

No good can come of either, unless you're prepared to put up with a lot of shit (and, no, you shouldn't be). And I say that as a guy who was #2 on my list for many many years…
posted by Pinback at 6:06 PM on April 14, 2010

"Never truly liked you in the first place"? That seems like an odd jump. "Want(ed) to have sex with you" is not necessarily equal to "Only wanted you for sex," which is not necessarily equal to "Never liked you in the first place".


There's a lesson here for you about how (many -- not all) guys think: they want sex. Okay, you know that. But what I mean is that this desire is pretty constant and pretty disconnected from other aspects of personality. So the fact that he wanted to have sex with you neither means that he liked you or didn't like you. If he's attracted to your body, he WILL want to have sex with you. So it's possible he that he wanted to have sex with you AND he also liked you. Or he might just have wanted to have sex with you without having any interest in you in other than as a sex object.

Since you can never totally get inside someone's head, I'd say that if it FELT like he liked you, you should assume he did. AND that he wanted to have sex with you.

I've heard guy go on and on about how much they hate their exes. "She's such a bitch! I hope she dies." Yet the next thing out of their mouths may be, "but she sure is hot!" For many (again, not all) men, sex can be less complicated than it is for (many, not all) women. It's a separate thing from other concerns.

However, mature guys are aware that they can be lead by their genitals, and so, even if they feel the urge, they don't do things like hit on girls they are trying to apologize to.
posted by grumblebee at 6:12 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Did you perhaps feel a slight breeze? That was a close call passing you by. Be grateful.

Your intuition is dinging so loud it's a wonder you don't have a headache. Listen to it!

At best, you should regard this guy and his machinations as entertainment to be amused by. At worst, you should assume that he will do you harm given the least amount of opportunity and will then ultimately blame you for letting him do it. Run, don't walk.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:47 PM on April 14, 2010

So you think that just because you're lacking experience in the relationship department, your intuition and judgment isn't to be trusted? Stop thinking that way. Even though you may not have done much kissing in your life doesn't mean that your opinions regarding kissing are to be mistrusted. You've got a lifetime of dealing with other people in all manner of situations that you can rely on to help in this new area of your existence. Did you stop and ask metafilter about which classes you should take for school because you'd never done that before? No, you used the information that you had gathered and made an educated choice. You sound like you've gotten yourself convinced that this is an entirely new and terrifying part of life that you can never get through without a mentor, but that's untrue. It's just like anything else new in your life - rely on previous knowledge to guide your way into the new experiences. You've made friends, you've figured out to communicate desires and fears to them, you've got all sorts of good, solid experience that you can apply to relationships just by virtue of being your age, alive, and functioning in the world. Don't distrust yourself!

And, of course, this guy is bad news, even if he was sincere in his apology. But you knew that already.
posted by Mizu at 7:41 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

The point of breaking off with someone is to break it off.

For good.
posted by xm at 7:57 PM on April 14, 2010

After having read both this and your linked askme, and the comments in this one, I feel like I have to speak up to disagree with a lot of the people that are saying that he's just being manipulative.

It sounds to me like you felt that he lusted after you, and either fooled himself or fooled you into thinking he was attracted to more than just sex with you. But I don't believe that there is such a firm line between love and lust. Knowing that somebody is smart can be incredibly sexy, and when somebody is into somebody, and feels that fooling around is permissible, then it's pretty common to want to fool around all the time at the beginning of a relationship. The picture that I get is that he was pretty into you, but to you, your studies were much more important than he was, and either he didn't understand that or didn't care.

It's possible that he was just being a jerk, using his tears to try to get into your pants. I'm a man myself, and I don't have a lot of experience with sexually manipulative behavior by men, but my understanding is that the men who do this are usually most interested in manipulating new people into fooling around with them.

Because of that, I don't read this situation the same way that the other posters here do. I see this guy as somebody who was genuinely into you, even if for shallow reasons, and who lost you and felt sad about it. It is not surprising that he wanted to fool around with you after you'd left him. He wanted you back. At that moment, he felt as if he'd screwed up lots of relationships in his life.

Feeling sorry for himself doesn't really make him look like a winner. But I think people here are holding him to a higher standard than most people hold themselves too. I imagine that most people posting here have felt the longing for one lost, and it's unfair to your ex for us to talk about his behavior without remembering our own pain in situations like his.

Was he sincere in what he said? I think you know that this is an unanswerable question. Even if he at some point tells you that he was just trying to manipulate you, then you don't know if that's sincere, or just an attempt to hurt you, or make sense of his own hurt. And none of us on the internet can actually give you any feedback on whether he was sincere, because the only things we have to go on are our own histories, and just as you can't ever know anything about whether he was sincere or not, we, similarly, can never know if others were sincere in their past dealings with us. In trying to answer this question, all we end up doing is talking about what sort of people _we_ are; how _we_ see people who want things from us that we don't want to give.

So: hope you're doing okay. Hope you're taking care of yourself. I hope this has all seemed like a worthwhile experience to you, and not a terrible mistake.
posted by nathan v at 8:44 PM on April 14, 2010

Even if it's not conscious, even if he's just an indecisive flip-flopper with a poor ability to empathize and a wide selfish streak -- I mean, really, that's most the compassionate, poor-sweetie-he's-just-socially-inept answer I can come up with - that doesn't mean you owe him a chance.

It sounds like you're really trying to figure out if he's sincere and if he really regrets it because you want to judge him on intention and not on actions. But just because someone has good intentions doesn't mean you have to date them or subject yourself to their failures.

You dated him once and you gave him a chance, and he doesn't seem to have changed in the ways that he would need to. Giving him another chance doesn't seem like it would have the right payout for you.
posted by Lady Li at 9:03 PM on April 14, 2010

As an aside, finish graduate school and move on as soon as possible. Speaking from experience, it's very hard to find and maintain healthy, adult relationships of any kind while you're in the pre-adult/professional limbo that is the so-called "life of the mind."
posted by bardic at 9:04 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I want to add that after he cried and we were both just chatting, he said to me: "so now you don't think I'm faking anything here, right? if I were, I'd have to be a really good actor."
he also says that I wasn't good at setting boundaries becuause when I told him I want to go slow due to inexperience and never been with a guy before, he says that's too vague. and if I was more clear about my boundaries, he would'vw backed off immediately.
posted by wcmf at 9:46 PM on April 14, 2010

You know, I was actually TRYING (very, very hard, while doing a lot of squinting) to give him the benefit of the doubt...until you posted your update.

Seriously. YOU SAID NO TO HIM FOR AN HOUR when he invited/cajoled/persuaded you upstairs to his apartment. If that's not setting clear "I don't want to do this" boundaries I don't know WHAT is. Yeah, he wheedled you into it afterwards, but y'know, if he were the type to 'respect your boundaries', HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN STANDING THERE WITH YOU FOR AN HOUR ARGUING.

Also, the whole 'so now you don't think I'm faking' comment sounds manipulative. VERY manipulative. Actually, this guy just sounds like an ass, no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Drop him like a bad habit.
posted by Hakaisha at 9:53 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

he said to me: "so now you don't think I'm faking anything here, right? if I were, I'd have to be a really good actor."

Yup. He would have to be a good actor. What's the point of this information? It tells us (you) nothing. A good manipulator says things like that, because it makes you think "he can't be lying. A liar would never bring up the fact that he might be lying." On the other hand, a truthful person might also say something like that -- if he was feeling insecure. So he might be lying and he might be telling the truth.

As you waste your time mulling his behavior over again and again, you will always come to the conclusion that he might be lying or telling the truth. If you sucker us into debating his motives, we will come to the same conclusion. Neither you nor we can get inside his head, which is the only way this subject can ever get resolved.

It is a complete waste of time, unless you are bored and want to star in your own soap opera or unless you enjoy obsessing. I advise you to give it up and move on. If you can't do that right now, then give it time, but don't make things worse by giving us more "evidence" to mull over. That just feeds the waste-of-time-and-energy problem.

he also says that I wasn't good at setting boundaries becuause when I told him I want to go slow due to inexperience and never been with a guy before, he says that's too vague.

He's full of shit. "I want to go slow" is not "too vague," unless you're a guy whose goal is to get away with as much as you can without regards for anyone else's feelings. What did he expect you to say? "You can touch me below the knee on alternate Wednesdays unless it's September, in which case you can only touch my elbow and my dog's front-left paw"?
posted by grumblebee at 12:44 AM on April 15, 2010

One of the important lessons I've learned in life is that (until somebody invents a mind reading machine) I can never really know with 100% certainty what's going on inside someone else's head. I mean, we're all infinitely complex. I don't always even fully understand myself, and I have access to all the files!

I tend to be an overanalyzer, too, and this kind of attempt to figure out someone else can be terribly compelling. But it's ultimately futile, period.

In relationships, what this means is that I have to base my decisions on how I feel, how it all affects me. Did your interactions with him make you feel giddy with joy? Relaxed and happy? Confident and optimistic? Loved and cared for? Respected, appreciated and full of self-respect? Doesn't sound like it. So what were his reasons, motives and ultimate goals? Who knows! (He possibly lacks the kind of self awareness to even provide you with a definite answer.) What you got was confusion, doubt and disappointment. That's all you need to know.

Let go. Move on. It's a really useful skill to master.
posted by sively at 2:07 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

saying he made a lot of mistakes with me, that I deserve better because he can't give me anything.

It seems like this is the truest thing he's said. With this statement he has warned you and (probably, in his own mind) absolved himself of any responsibility for your hurt feelings. Blech.

General advice: Listen to people when even they themselves are telling you to avoid them. There is usually some good reason why you should.
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:48 AM on April 15, 2010

You can always say no to someone. Who cares if the other person you gave a ride to would think it was weird? You can just say no, sorry, I don't have time tonight; no, I can't; sorry, but it isn't possible for me to take you home. If he pressed you about it in front of this other person, he would look strange, not you. You could just politely say you're sorry but you just can't tonight. Don't bring it up to the other student, and it's over.

Never do things you really do not want to do, especially things that have the potential to do you harm (be it physical or emotional).
posted by k8lin at 5:43 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

He's got you pegged as someone who will believe just about anything he says and who he can get to do pretty much anything he wants. After all, he got you to give him a ride home with no effort at all and to come up to his apartment just by turning on some waterworks. Since he didn't get sex out of it, though, he decided to try to get it elsewhere. He told you about it, of course -- might as well, it'll keep you in his life in some weird way and then when he doesn't get any there he can come back and try another well-acted scene with you and see if it works better the second time.
posted by JanetLand at 5:48 AM on April 15, 2010

After crying he said, "so now you don't think I'm faking anything here, right? if I were, I'd have to be a really good actor."

Okay, now he's sounding like a predator. Even more of a reason to run away from him. In fact, if I were you I'd start thinking of the ways he's screwed me that I haven't thought about yet. Hang onto your credit cards and I suppose it wouldn't hurt to do an inventory of all the spending done in your name over the past few months. Maybe check your credit rating. I may be a bit paranoid but I've dated a lot more than you and I've been burned. It wouldn't hurt to take a little inventory just to be sure.

And stay the hell away from him. He. Is. Toxic!
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 6:46 AM on April 15, 2010

I have no advice about the meaning of all the relationship stuff, but I have this:

If you ever "have to" offer someone a ride because they are hanging around near someone else, DROP THEM OFF FIRST. At the curb, "see ya", and then keep driving so you can drop off the other passenger. Even if it is miles out of your way. Think of it as emotional miles that you could have saved.
posted by CathyG at 7:07 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's been said; he's a manipulator. He followed you at the party as you tried to dodge him. Finally he edges you into a situation where he preys upon your niceness to get a ride.

You didn't want to talk to him, and when you were blowing him off at the party, that was almost assuredly made obvious to him. Someone who cares about your feelings will realize, "Ok, I really want to apologize, but apparently she's not ready yet. Either I need to wait, or send her a letter." A manipulative, selfish asshat thinks, "Hey, she just offered that guy a ride, and she's pretty nice and would feel awkward denying me a ride, so I can force myself upon her, maybe get her alone or at least limit the audience. SCORE!!!1!!"

Others pointed out how he later behaved was manipulative, even if potentially unintentionally, but I really think that the way he scored the ride/audience with you was inappropriate.

In the future I'd recommend 1) if asked for a ride say, "I'm sorry, but because of our past I think that's a bad idea, so no." There, instantly the other over-hearer knows there's a reason. I missed if there's a particular reason that you don't want anyone to know, or if they just happen to not know. 2) if you ignore point 1, and let yourself to be led into this situation, drop them off first even if it's out of the way. (on preview, as CathyG said)

1) is a much better option however. Or even better just say, "No." No is one of the best words to be able to say, and I'll make a while guess that you can use more practice at it. It will serve you will, especially with manipulators. Many people have learned that it's often socially hard to say no.
posted by nobeagle at 7:20 AM on April 15, 2010

Coming back in to say: Please learn how to say "NO" and mean it.

And if you must analyze this some more, then look into why you keep ending up being alone with this guy.
posted by misha at 8:40 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

lots of good info and advice from the mefi community. I agree that I tend to overanalyze and it's difficult for me to picture this guy as a completely non-redeemable asshole when we know the same people and are classmates. I'd have a much easier time getting over the whole thing if he's some guy I just met randomly in other social situations. He knows I have zero experience with relationships and is such a good manipulator that he often made me doubt myself and whether I did anything to provoke him into acting the way he did. So that's one of the reasons I was over-analyzing. Because I don't have dating experience and I don't know if I indeed did something unconsciously that have him acting the way, if I did, how can I consciously change the way I act around men to make sure that doesn't happen again and the kind of red light I need to watch out for so I can get out of the situation sooner.

For example, he says I was sending him mixed signals, he was behaving super aggressively on our first date because of my body language (I actually believed him at the time, but now I know that's not true), that I was unclear in setting my boundaries whereas his ex was much more clear at setting boundaries because "want to go slow" is vague but after his first kiss with his ex, she says they have to be exclusive for anything more than that, that's setting clear boundaries. I thought you don't do that because most guys would run if a woman insists on being exclusive after just one kiss. Granted, he says he and his ex were already good friends when that happened, but I still think most relationships don't happen like that, and after he said that, I started to think whether this is something I should've said to my next date instead of "wanting to go slow". He also made it sounds like he wasn't being manipulative, he was having an identity crisis because he was trying to figure out his relationship with his ex (that's according to him after we broke up). After he told me he wants to go back to his ex, he says she can move on, but he won't, so it sounds like he's a caring guy who's totally in love with his ex.

Initially I thought he was actually into me for more than my body, but now I think he's with me primarily for the physical aspect. He didn't want anyone at the school to know about us because he says he doesn't want to be part of the rumor mill again. When he was dating his ex, it was public knowledge, other 2nd years knew. He said he told his best friend about us but when I questioned his friend after we broke up, he said M. told him we were just hanging out.

When I sent him a long email chastising him for his selfish behavior. He said he's sorry for being extremely selfish and for getting me caught up in his identity crisis, but that he's done analyzing it with me (besides the night he spent crying and one facebook chat, we haven't talked about his behavior since we broke up). His cold tone also made me realize that he didn't really cared about me and still selfish despite his words to the contrary.
posted by wcmf at 12:41 PM on April 15, 2010

So now that you've read everything here, written what you wrote above ("His cold tone also made me realize that he didn't really care about me and is still selfish despite his words to the contrary."), and thought about it, are you ready to move on? I really hope so. Every minute you continue to mull this over is another wasted minute of your life. Honestly, you have learned what you're going to learn from this, and now you're just spinning wheels. I'm skeptical that participating in this thread is helpful for you any more. It's sort of an excuse for you to write long essays about this loser. Stop!

The best medicine now will be to work on your school assignments, hang out with your friends, work on fun projects and, if you meet someone you like, go on a date.

There are a lot of immature men (and women) in your age group. But there are also plenty of mature ones. Mature men know what "I want to take things slow" means. They don't manipulate; they don't EVER say, "I don't want anyone to know about our relationship" (HUGE red flag!) and they clearly enjoy hanging out with you as a friend, even when there's no sex involved. If it's not crystal clear that's the case, move on. You deserve better.

Also, beware of people who use self-analysis as an excuse for bad behavior. It sickens me to hear all your reports of your ex explaining why he's behaved so badly towards you, talking about his various issues, etc. That's a manipulative tactic. It generally means, "Yes, I treated you like shit, and I'm sorry, but you should pity me, because..." Don't fall for it ever again. If someone treats you like shit, it doesn't matter why. Move on. There's no excuse.
posted by grumblebee at 8:21 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Please listen to grumblebee. The time for hair-splitting/wheel-spinning hyper-analysis of every last detail of what he said or did is over. I know this goes against your grain (and your comfort zone), but I strongly think that the healthiest thing for you do now is to accept that A) he's BAD NEWS, and B) you're done with him, as of right now. Anything else is just words, words, words, and will only get you further down the rabbit-hole of the mind fuck he's played on you.

If you must analyze anything, think about what you want and need in future relationships. Then resolve to spend your time and energy only on those people (whether male or female, platonic or romantic) who support you in those needs.
posted by scody at 8:35 AM on April 16, 2010

Because you overanalyze I'll put it to you this way:

If you are
1) confused and
2) he says "it's your fault "blah blah" mixed signals," then
3) it's really his fault. This is what we call being manipulative. Can you see how he manipulated you?

Here's another thing--a logic rule for those who overanalyze: Guys don't go slow. If they say they want to go slow chances are very good they are saying what they think you want them to say to get on your good side which is an example of him being. . .manipulative.

Initially I thought he was actually into me for more than my body

This simply does not happen. Ever. Guys are never "initially" into a woman for anything but looks and a body. "Initially" it's all about looks and body. Always. That's how guys are wired. If anybody says anything different, ignore them.

The way to avoid this kind of mess in the future is through more dating. No way around it. Go out there and learn your lessons but be safe.

but now I think he's with me primarily for the physical aspect

So now you're with him again?

This guy has "ick" written all over him. Remember! 3 billion guys out there! Why waste so much time on one loser? You've been warned.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 2:38 PM on April 16, 2010

This simply does not happen. Ever. Guys are never "initially" into a woman for anything but looks and a body. "Initially" it's all about looks and body. Always. That's how guys are wired. If anybody says anything different, ignore them.

Not true. Not all guys all the time. It is true that men tend to be visual creatures. It is true that men tend to get attracted by looks first. But the key word there is "trend." With respect to Lord Fancy Pants, he does not know what goes on in the heads of all men, though I do think he's accurately describing a general trend.

I have often been attracted to personality before looks. In fact, some of my strongest attractions have been to women that I didn't think were pretty at first. Then, as I learned how cool they were in other ways, I gradually became more and more physically attracted to them.

I wouldn't have derailed the thread down this tangent, but the last thing the OP needs is to be told how "all" men think. There's no all men. There are just individual people who happen to be male.

This, by the way, is why the only lessons worth learning from past relationships are lessons about you. You can't learn lessons about men from any particular man. But you can learn how to better take care of yourself and how to find happiness.
posted by grumblebee at 6:17 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Having read your long final (I hope) update, I have this to say: why?

I mean that entirely without snark, too. Why? Why are you telling us all this? Are you rationalizing to yourself, or to us? Because I can tell you right now, you don't owe us an explanation. You don't have to justify yourself, your choices, your thoughts, your actions to us. We are strangers on the internets who are trying to help you through pixels on a screen, but ultimately, we don't know you, don't know him, and can't (won't) go beat him up for you if he acts like a jerk again (and he seems like he will).

Are you justifying to yourself? Sounds like it. And honestly, the time for that is long gone, over, done. It doesn't matter ultimately why he's behaving like an ass--bottom line is, he is behaving like an ass (at least, by your definition of an ass), and you don't want to put up with it. Knowing his angsty backstory does not in any way obligate you to stick around and fix him. You can't fix people like that. Maybe his behaviour is not asshole-like to certain people and they'd stay with him. Okay, fine, but that person (those persons) are not you, and you don't have to be like them. All you have to know is that this guy oversteps your boundaries, repeatedly, and that you don't have to put up with that. Put another way, in the most succinct manner possible: you two are not compatible.

Stop wondering/analyzing the whys and wherefores. In the end, it doesn't matter. I realize that you're asking for advice because you're new at this. Well, here's the advice: for the future, recognize whether or not you two are compatible not based on stories, angsty childhoods and dramatic backstories, but based on how the person treats you (big one: does he respect your boundaries!!) in the present. If yes, you two are compatible, and if you want to stay (because you could be compatible on paper but you're not attracted/available/what have you), then stay. If not, then leave.

In the case of this guy, you two are clearly not compatible. Leave, don't look back, and don't spare him another thought.
posted by Hakaisha at 10:24 PM on April 16, 2010

Thank you to the mefi community. I can't tell you how much this has helped me. I am moving on as I know I should. I've deleted all his texts and messages and going out on dates with other guys, nothing has worked out yet. He's played such mind-fuck on me, made me doubt my own intuition on what the right relationship should be like, that I was unsure on what to do or say to my dates. Thank you to the mefites for helping me to realize that I should trust my guts and my inexperience in the dating arena doesn't mean I can't use my experience in dealing with people in general to guide myself.
so much thanks again!
posted by wcmf at 5:14 PM on April 17, 2010

I am VERY happy you've made this decision. Best of luck to you!
posted by grumblebee at 5:28 PM on April 18, 2010

Oh, and try and remember everything that was said here a few months down the road when he gets horny and comes whining around telling you how he's "changed." Whatever he claims, he will still be The Same Big Dumb Jerk.
posted by JanetLand at 9:49 AM on April 19, 2010

JanetLand makes a good point. Remember the answer to your original question:

Guy apologizes for behaving like a jerk and cries, yet still acts like a jerk, why?

Answer: He's a jerk (that's being nice). That's what jerks do. If/when he comes back, show a healthy degree of self respect and turn him down. 3 billion other guys in the world. Surely you can do better.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 2:47 PM on April 19, 2010

Thank you grumblebee, JanetLand and Lord Fancy Pants, I'll remember what you've said down the road. The bottom line is: it's a waste of time for me to care about him when he doesn't care about me. And it's a futile effort to believe the "sensitive tortured guy" performance he has put on when he's only using it to manipulate me into feeling sorry for him and trust him.

I'm sure if he senses that I've softened up he will find a way to act out another sob story to get into my pants, and will ultimately blame me for what happens. If he senses that I won't put up with his crap, he'll just move on to his next victim.

Jerks don't change. Maybe they do grow up eventually, but it'll take YEARS and I shouldn't put up with his crap just because I'm a nice caring person.

Thank you for reminding me not to forget my lesson. The best thing, if there's any, that has come from this experience, is what I've learned what are the red flags to look for and what I need from my next relationship. Thank you mefites!
posted by wcmf at 11:44 AM on April 20, 2010

Those are all great lessons, and I'm sure that some of us who explained them still need to hear them themselves. I know that they are the sorts of lessons I need to keep relearning all my life. So thank you for this thread.

I think there's one more lesson: if you spend one than one thought-session on trying to figure out someone's motives, you're wasting your time.

Of course, it needn't be as exact as I'm making it sound. The world won't end if you think about it twice instead of once. And if you're in an on-going relationship, it's a bit different. If you need to be around someone every day, you may need to spend extra time trying to understand him. (Though it's much better to do this by asking him about his intentions rather than trying to read his mind.) But if a relationship is over -- or if the specific interaction that makes you question someone's motives is over -- then it's fruitless and HARMFUL to spend time interpreting it.

A co-worker says "hello" to you in a funny way -- a way that makes you wonder if he's angry at you. The BEST thing to do is ask him about it. But if you can't do that, or if you do it and you're not sure you believe him when he says, "No. I'm not angry," then you get ONE chance to mull over all the possibilities of what me might have meant. If you want to ask a friend's advice, you get ONE conversation. THEN DROP IT.

You can't read minds, so there's no way you'll ever be able to know for sure what someone's intention is, unless they tell you and you believe their explanation.

You won't learn how to handle yourself in future relationships by going over and over what someone might have meant. There's nothing such thought can teach you. The are just obsessive, harmful thoughts. They are harmful because they place the focus on the other person instead of on you. The focus needs to be on you, because you can only change yourself. For instance, you can say, "I'm going to avoid that grumpy person in the future" or "I'm going to think about things I might be doing that maybe piss him off."

Sometimes we can't stop obsessive thoughts, even if we know they are useless or harmful. But we can admit they are useless and harmful. If you admit that to yourself, that's the first step in stopping the obsession. Every time you find yourself wondering "why did he say hello to me like that?" tell yourself that you'll never know for sure and that it's a waste of time to obsess about it.

Try to really understand that YOU CAN'T READ MINDS and that no one else can either. So there's no secret information that anyone is going to be able to give you that will help you do that. You can say, "he also said this" and "he also said that." You can describe his actions ("he cried"), but NO ONE can tell you what all that means. People can make guesses, but that's the best they can do, because THEY CAN'T READ MINDS.

If you want to live a mentally healthy life, stop trying to read minds. It's impossible.

What people CAN do is look at actions. Oh, he did this to you? Oh, that's terrible. We don't know why he did it, but he did it. Now how are you going to react to the fact that he did it? Intentions are important, so you should ask about them -- once. But if, after doing that, you are still unsure about the intentions, quit asking. Focus on actions.
posted by grumblebee at 8:38 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

And another thing:

Trust your gut instincts. This whole thread is about your head fighting your gut instincts. Your instincts are millions of years old. They're there for a reason. They help you survive. They told you this guy is trouble and your head (and maybe your heart) stepped in and reasoned and explained and fumbled and futzted with what your gut was saying. In the end, your gut was right.

I overanalyzed for years. It takes time and practice to learn to listen to your gut instincts again. No time like the present, right?
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 9:03 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

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