How do you solve a problem like Roberto?
February 15, 2011 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Should I just give up?

I work as a radio host at a classical music station, and a few months ago I met a charming concert pianist. Had a post on here about him before, where I called him Roberto, so that's what I'll call him. I really liked Roberto. He's fun and charming -- and he'll also be one of the subjects in a book I'm working on, featuring my interviews over a couple of years with some of the more interesting artists I've chatted with.

Anyway, there's a nice older woman I know named Helen, who is also a friend of Roberto. She told me she met him the first time he ever came to town, because she's with a company that drives artists around to their gigs when they're here. She said they bonded, especially after he lost his father, and they've been close ever since. She told me he had spoken well of me, and finding out all of this from such a nice lady sort of endeared him to me even more.

Roberto is attractive and he seems to know it, which just increases his charm. I'm married, though, so I sort of skate over the flirtatious stuff -- emails and texts he sends me -- and it's flattering anyway, but I've had no intention of acting on my attraction. But I figured since he's here in town, we'll do the interview as per usual, and maybe if he has time, we'll have a coffee or a beer or something, and it will be fun getting to know him. He's an artist, he's my favorite thing on earth (a classical pianist), and he's got such elegance and feeling and sophistication, etc. He seems like a real grown up, you know? At least on stage.

So it's been beyond weird to go through what I've been through over the past few days, since Roberto has been here. He texted me a week or so before he got into town, just to chat. He didn't mention the interview time, or if we'd be meeting up for drinks, and I was suddenly too shy to ask him. But I should have, as I now realize...

Okay, so he tells me he's coming into town sometime on Sunday. So I don't hear from him all day, but I didn't think it was that odd. He was traveling, maybe he was tired or had jet lag, maybe the flight was delayed. And I didn't call or text or email him, because I didn't want to interrupt him if he was tired.

So on Monday, still nothing. His performance is on Wednesday, and I still haven't heard from him or his agent about when he wants to do the interview. I emailed Roberto to check in, and then emailed his agent. His agent got back to me with a firm interview time, so that was good. No word from Roberto though, for a couple of hours.

So then I get an email from him in which he's chiding me because I didn't call him on Sunday. I explained my rationale, but it's obvious he's upset. Weird! He tells me he's going to a wine event, and wishes me a Happy Valentines' Day and a nice night with my husband. I said thanks, and hubby and I both had to work the next day, so it was going to be an early night for me. I suggested meeting up on Tuesday. I said I only had one appointment, and that it would be short, and I could meet Roberto pretty much any time.

No word for a couple of hours, and I had to leave work. I'm done at 2pm, which I realize is super early, and most people don't believe it, even after I tell them that my whole schedule is shifted up -- I get up at 3am with hubby, I'm in bed by 5, and dead to the world until 3 or 4 the next morning. Even our friends regularly forget this. Anyway, so I get up this morning, and he's texted me last night around 5pm, while I was asleep, asking me to meet him in his practice room at the University.

Even if I had gotten that text last night, I couldn't have jumped out of bed and gone over there. If I had known ahead of time he wanted to meet me last night, I could have arranged things and made it happen. But this last-minute stuff! I'm thinking, what? Plus, last he told me, he was going to a wine event that night, so I wasn't even expecting to hear from him.

So I open my email this morning, and he's sent me a message from last night around 8pm. He's saying, "So, you're a journalist and you don't even answer your email for three hours? You've already lost two days we could have had, God knows if there'll be another."

I'm just amazed at this. I mean, why the hell didn't he tell me yesterday, when we emailed back and forth a couple of times well ahead of evening, that he wanted me to meet him at his practice room at 5:30 that night? I totally could have done it, if I'd known by the time I left work around 2pm. And nothing at ALL about whether we could meet on the day I said would work for me, Tuesday (today).

My co-worker thinks the spontaneous stuff is a European thing. Roberto is from an Eastern European country. Co-worker says they just don't plan ahead like we do.

I'm thinking it could also be a number of other things. He's a raging narcissist. Or it could be an ambivalence thing. He doesn't really want to meet with me, so he's dancing around, avoiding me and making it difficult to meet. Or it's a power trip: let's see if I can make her jump on a dime and drop everything to meet me RIGHT NOW. Or, he's got low social skills and doesn't realize that giving a person notice is just basic courtesy. Or he doesn't understand the restraints of marriage -- when you live with someone, you can't just jump out of bed to go running to meet people. He should know this, because he's married himself! It could also be that we just have different relational styles, and that we're mixing our signals because we don't know each other very well yet. We haven't had time to become friends. But I really feel we could be.

I'm listening to a piece he recorded about a year ago, a Chopin scherzo. So elegant, so pure, so beautiful, so -- mature. But his music is more mature than he is! How can he be this consummate artist, and yet behave like a child in his personal life? (I know the stereotype of the artist/asshole, but I've rarely encountered it. Most artists I've interviewed have been unusually considerate and courteous.)

The other really odd thing about this is that we've never actually spoken to each other without another person in the room. Our communications have all been over email or text.

Texting is one of those medium-is-the-message phenoms I think. The fact that it's just flimsy, superficial text seems to cheapen the nature of the whole interaction. It's like because it's a text interaction, I'm also somehow flatter or less real to him.

Anyway, my co-worker Brad says he crossed the line by impugning my skills as a journalist. He advises me to drop the guy like a hot brick. But I still feel like it could all be fine if I could just see the guy in person for once! We haven't actually seen each other in eight months or so. I don't connect with very many people. Some really interest me though, and Roberto is one. But he's making me feel like every single thing I'm doing is wrong, and it's stranger than shit. Why is he constantly scolding me? And I don't feel I've done anything wrong. Did I, though?

It's even weirder now, because I have an interview scheduled with him for Wednesday. If he doesn't communicate with me between now and then, it'll be strange, but I'll have to go through with it I guess.


Okay, time for you to advise me, I'd love to get your take on this. What do I do now?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
He's an artist. Artists, god love 'em, are not necessarily living in The Real World like you and me.

Stop treating this like a potential friendship and act like a professional journalist.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:21 AM on February 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


After reading that, I'm honestly confused as to whether you are seeking a professional interview, or a personal meeting with this guy. The two situations call for different responses, and I'm not sure what to tell you without knowing more clearly which way you want to take this.

Roberto's kind of a dick, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on February 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm confused. You wanted an interview with him. You set up an interview with him. You confirmed the interview with him. He tried to do all this weird personal stuff that I can't figure out if you wanted to engage in or not. You still have an interview with him. Go to the interview, do the interview, have a professional relationship with this guy. Why are you even trying to talk to him outside this? What do you want other than an interview with him, which you have?
posted by brainmouse at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


Go to the interview, do the interview, have a professional relationship with this guy. Yes. Dealing with crazy artists is part of your job- ignore the drama and just do the interview. Especially since the drama seems to be all in your head. Your anxiety over this situation seems wrapped up in your crush on this guy (I remember the last post). It might be time to talk through this issue with a therapist.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


Should I just give up?

Yes, it sounds like you need to either give up the husband, give up Roberto, or give up interviewing someone who you're fawning over when you're supposed to be married.

Your anxiety over this situation seems wrapped up in your crush on this guy (I remember the last post)

Do your husband and yourself a favor and tell him and see what he thinks. You're treading on thin ice here.
posted by cashman at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


Do the interview and then don't deal with him anymore. He's a dick and while I believe you when you say you don't want to act on your attraction to him, going out for a beer etc. is tempting fate.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:35 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I scanned your previous questions before this one was anonymized. You might go back and re-read your question about Martin, who you felt such an affinity for and who you were afraid might've thought you were a dork. I think there's a pattern here.
posted by jon1270 at 9:36 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Separate out private and personal life a little more, stop feeling bad about this, as presented the fellow sounds like more than a bit of an ass. Be professional, do the interview.

Musical capability and maturity are very distinct things. Not always, but plenty of times, good looking highly talented people have a lower maturity level because people let them get away with so much bullshit over time.



And what exactly have been your intentions? I know you mentioned being married, and not being interested, but... there seems be be more emotional involvement here than just professional whathaveyou. It could be Roberto is misreading your cues as something more than casual friendly interest (the fact you are married likely matters little to hm), and is acting like the spoiled brat he come across as from your description.
posted by edgeways at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do I do now?

Interview him and go home to your husband. You are really, really obsessed with this guy and frankly, it's weird. There doesn't really seem to be any drama here beyond what you are creating in your head. Unless you want to end your marriage, take a big emotional step back here and act like a professional.
posted by something something at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [30 favorites]


Yeah, give up the crush. This is not a situation you want to be in. Interview him, but keep it strictly professional. He's trying to get you all flustered and it's working.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get weary of assholery being justified with things like "Oh, he's an artist." Asshole is asshole.

Draw a bright line between personal and professional; hew to the latter and eschew the former with respect to this jerk; do the damnedest best professional job you can, then move briskly on to the next thing.
posted by charris5005 at 9:43 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, it sounds like you need to either give up the husband, give up Roberto, or give up interviewing someone who you're fawning over when you're supposed to be married.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Despite your protests of being married (etc), you're clearly fawning over this guy and being smitten, and a lot of what you wrote reads to me like you're just unhappy he's not playing the game to your "rules." Give up, or give it up . . . but quit trying to play on both sides of the fence.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Give up what, exactly? You're being very vague about what you want here, and what you think the possibilities are. Based on the last question you asked about "Roberto" (which, incidentally, renders this one totally non-anonymous; if you care, you might want to talk to the mods about anonymizing that one), I think this vagueness is at least semi-intentional; you don't seem to want to admit that you're getting something out of the flirting, that you at least ambivalently like it and want it to continue. Maybe this is the source of your discomfort; flirting, unlike a totally professional relationship and even more than just mild overtures of friendship, puts things out of your control, and into the other party's hands. It sounds like Roberto enjoys the attention in a sort of manipulative way, like he likes to make you a little uncomfortable as a kind of low-stakes power game, proving that he holds the cards here — but that's not a crime. You have to decide for yourself how much of this you'll take and where you draw the line and decide the buzz you get from the flirting no longer justifies the annoyance and anxiety. If I were you that line would have been crossed a while ago, but obviously for you it wasn't.

Be clear, at least with yourself, about what you actually want, and a lot of the problems here will disappear. There are a lot of choices: 1) Roberto is too manipulative, no longer want to have anything to do with him; 2) have a professional interview and no personal contact; 3) go out for beers and chat, but draw the line at friendship and call off the flirty stuff (look back at the old question for advice about how to do this, there's tons of good advice there); 4) no change, continue flirting and accept that that means being manipulated a little to feed Roberto's ego; 5) try to up the ante and actually make a move on him. My vote is for 1 or 2, because my read on the vagueness of this question is that the anxiety and discomfort are now outweighing the potential happiness that getting closer to the guy could bring you — but really, only you can decide this for yourself, so mainly I just want to urge you to be clear with yourself, much clearer than you are here, about what you actually want out of the situation.
posted by RogerB at 9:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Give up. Don't wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty, and the pig likes it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'd keep this person on the "professional only" list, and respond appropriately, perhaps letting him know that your work is all dictated by a schedule that makes no allowances for spontaneity and mind-reading. If you have a crush on this guy and are married, going to drink wine or beer with him is a big mistake.

FAMOUS MONSTER's pronouncement about this guy being a dick shouldn't be shocking. I share your love of classical music, but the history books have many pages devoted to brilliant musicians who are dicks.
posted by Hylas at 9:49 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


What? This reads like a high school girl's journal: overthinking, high drama, triangle-y relationships. After trudging though this whole thing, I don't even know what your question is. Do you want to interview the musician or fuck him? You're not acting very professionally, nor are you acting like a considerate spouse. What would your husband think of your behavior? Either keep yourself in check and be a considerate spouse, or split up with your husband and chase this musician guy (who sounds like a complete asshole), but don't do both. Have some respect for yourself, your profession, and most of all, the man you committed yourself to. Think about getting some therapy because it sounds like you have some type of self-esteem issue.
posted by December at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


You are wrong if you think a friendship with him will bolster your self esteem.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:53 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I, um, also took a brief gander at you AskMe history prior to annomizing and would like to expand/empathize a little bit of my previous reply. Much as charris5005 just said:

Work is work. Not-work is the rest of your life. Try to mix them as little as possible. You should absolutely, without any doubt, strive to create as big a firewall between them as possible. Unless it is required, when you leave work for the day-weekend have nothing to do with it until you go back in.

I feel this is generally good advice for many people, however, without trying to sound mean or harsh, I think this may be even more important for yourself. This absolutely has to do both the current situation and with plenty of your previous concerns.

good luck
posted by edgeways at 9:54 AM on February 15, 2011


Look, he's an asshole. I know, sometimes assholes can be *really* attractive and fascinating, but at the end of the day, they're going to screw you over and make you feel miserable, and he's already started. So, what you're going to do now is do the interview and that's it. Then, no more Roberto.
posted by pajamazon at 9:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wait, your friend thinks "So, you're a journalist and you don't even answer your email for three hours? You've already lost two days we could have had, God knows if there'll be another." is impugning your skills as a journalist? He is just teasing you, that is the way some people flirt.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:06 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Go do the interview and then be done with Roberto. Done. No emails, no texts, and no guessing what's up with him. Brad advised you to be done with Roberto, and Brad has a better base of knowledge - of you and of the situation - than we do.

This doesn't read like it is at all about a professional situation. You may think that it is, but that's not how you're expressing it, which may mean more than you think.
posted by mrs. taters at 10:17 AM on February 15, 2011


You're married.

He sounds like kind of a prick.

Resolve any ongoing professional connection and move on.
posted by Sara C. at 10:21 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


So...you might have the interview, but he might blow you off again? Some people are just really hard to get ahold of to interview. I wish I had the answer, because I stress out about it too. But in your case, do you need the interview for the book? Or can you write an amusing little piece about how you tried to interview him but he kept blowing you off instead? I've read several of those, and they're sometimes just as good, or better - you get a good sense of the subject's (unstable/conceited/flighty) personality, and a feeling for what their business is like. If you can do that, I think it might be preferable, because it sounds like you really like this guy. I mean, like like him. It might be better to avoid the temptation. Just the fact that you put this in human relations instead of work & money makes me think this isn't about the interview.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:36 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. Roberto: Pepe le Pew type, enmeshed in your career success… danger.

2. Roberto and Helen: social proof, is capable of deep and meaningful feelings. Gigolo undertones.

3. You: married, crushing on Pepe le Pew, dying to see this artiste - outside of work. "Seems like a real grown up, you know?" I do know. The last time I consciously thought that about someone they turned out to have the mentality of a six-year-old. Often, when I *consciously* think things about people, it's because they're intentionally portraying that and it might or might not turn out to be real.

4. Roberto: starting to reframe your communication as personal.

Some more paragraphs: the last time I paid this much attention to someone's communications with me I had a great big crush on them, but that was because a) I was trauma-bonded to them by a nasty piece of recent personal history, and b) they had deliberately been using the trauma bond to manipulate my emotions for months. Your emotions seem to be running incredibly high based on a relatively superficial relationship with this guy.

Roberto scolding you about the timing: domination game. This is to get you jumping when he snaps his fingers. Also to make you aware that you better jump on the Roberto-train while you can!

"a European thing" - my arse. It's a jerk thing.

"Anyway, my co-worker Brad says he crossed the line by impugning my skills as a journalist" no, that was really trivial and flirtatious, but what worries me is what's coming next. He might try to provoke you into something that will get you discredited.

"he's making me feel like every single thing I'm doing is wrong" - you know yourself that you didn't do anything wrong. People who make you feel this way are never good to be around.

As to your question, what do you do now? Do the interview. For the sake of your job, avoid communicating with Pepe, er, Roberto except through his agent. For the sake of your marriage, do not interact with him outside of a working situation.

I don't mean to give this more importance that it deserves, but Roberto's preference for using domination games in his seduction tactics make me think you should not be alone in any fringe area - like the ladies' room - or alone with him at any time. He already thinks he's irresistible, you don't want to be there if he unilaterally decides to act on this belief.
posted by tel3path at 10:36 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, and: what ThePinkSuperhero said. Roberto may be contributing to your agitation, but based on what you have written in this post (haven't seen any previous) more of it is inside your head than out there in what's actually happening.
posted by tel3path at 10:44 AM on February 15, 2011


Brad is 1000% correct.

You are on a slippery slope because Roberto is bad news and totally playing you. He is not fit for professional relations, but especially friendship. You blew the professional part by having "private" personal communications with him. You let him cross a line with you and it's too late to put the cat back in the bag.

Dissing your professional skills is a classic pick-up tactic designed to make you want to "prove" yourself to this man. Stop falling for it!
posted by jbenben at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


It sounds like you would like to have an affair with this guy but won't admit it.

Do the interview on Wednesday, then have an affair with him.

disclaimer - this may end your marriage
posted by Frasermoo at 11:02 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember your last AskMe about this. I mean to try to say this gently, but are you a grown woman? How can you not see that you have a crush on Roberto (in fact you're acting like you're practically obsessed with him) and he's playing you because you've given him enough indication that you enjoy it and are playing right along? Grow up, forget about him. Screw the interview.
posted by yarly at 11:10 AM on February 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


In short: He's negging you. It's working. Don't be that pathetic. Reconnect with your husband and pretend this asshole is dead.
posted by Nixy at 11:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


he's making me feel like every single thing I'm doing is wrong

He's treating you like a child that needs scolding, but really he's just being flirtatious. I'll bet his relationships with women are all a game to him. He believes if he sets his mind to it he can seduce whatever woman he wants and right now you seem to be providing some resistance which he'd like to break.

Do with that what you will, but you can also cut through the game of cat and mouse by just calling him up and talking. All this delayed communication is adding a lot of hot air to this balloon.
posted by Dragonness at 11:48 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Consider whether it's possible that you're really excited by the possibility of romantic tension between you and this man, and for that reason you are turning every interaction between the two of you into something much more meaningful and significant than it really is.
posted by prefpara at 11:51 AM on February 15, 2011


Do the interview on Wednesday, then have an affair with him.

Under no circumstances should you have an affair with him. Dude is Bad Fucking News from jump. If he's this jerky to you while he's trying to get professional publicity out of you, imagine what an utterly abusive douchenugget he would be to people he was actually fucking?

Figure out what the fuck is going on with you about your marriage. If you're bored with your spouse and fantasizing about every random guy that comes along, then either you need to open up your marriage (Opening Up by Tristan Taormino is your go-to there) like a responsible adult or end your marriage and devote yourself to chasing Senor Magic Cock wherever you may find him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:17 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


for that reason you are turning every interaction between the two of you into something much more meaningful and significant than it really is

Well, he's being creepily flirtatious unless that text about "two days we could have had" is totally made up.

But you make a good point, prefpara--this guy sounds like a narcissistic shit who is probably playing lots of people (don't know if the OP is male or female) and doing the whole 'YOU ARE THE ONE FOR ME BAYBEEEEEEE' nonsense with them. That's not true love, and it doesn't make you a special snowflake.

There's a reason why Pepe LePew is a skunk.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would just like to add, in response to all the others who are calling you childish and immature - I saw a woman in her 70s suffer through something similar quite recently.

I don't think it necessarily springs from immaturity, but from unfulfilled longings combined with, perhaps, the element of surprise? Maybe you've never been in a situation exactly like this before and are too swept away to be able to understand it with the cold objectivity that the rest of us are so proud of.

You know the "eggshell skull" law? That if you whack somebody on the head and they die, you don't get to say "but your honour how was I to know she had a number of unhealed skull fractures". Likewise, while your reaction to Roberto's flirtations may be disproportionate and to a large extent generated by you and your vulnerability, that doesn't make Roberto's actions harmless fun. He should be careful where he aims that thing, frankly. Knowing that you're married, he's still messing around with your feelings, which makes him not a good guy, not friend material, and someone to be avoided professionally as much as you can.

Just imagine slamming that piano lid right down on his fingers. Or something like that.
posted by tel3path at 12:22 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


He seems like a real grown up, you know? At least on stage.

What people seem like on stage has very little to do with what they are like offstage.

Or he doesn't understand the restraints of marriage -- when you live with someone, you can't just jump out of bed to go running to meet people. He should know this, because he's married himself!

Hmmm, I think a man traveling, possibly for months, away from his home country has a very different understanding of "the restraints of marriage" than you do. On some level I think you know exactly what his understanding of that is but haven't admitted it to yourself yet.

You seem to think of this guy as an old friend who should be eager to hang out and chat with you, there's no indication in your question that he sees things that way. Surely as a performer he has many opportunities to meet people who feel like they have made a connection with him. You may not get out and meet many people, but he does, in every single town he travels to -- do you really think the chance to talk with you is something he's been pining for? Practice rooms are generally nice and private, I doubt he wanted you to show up there just to chat.

Last minute notice may be because someone else didn't show up.

Why is he constantly scolding me? And I don't feel I've done anything wrong.

In all seriousness, I'd bet real money that Roberto scolding you because he wants to explain all the naughty things you have done while he's... erm. Well. Details might be getting out of the "answering the question" guidelines.

If you think that you are going to "just be friends" with this guy, don't go meet him where there's no one else around! I think you are expecting him to behave like most other married guys you know, but he isn't going to, and if you are counting on him to hold back it's not going to work that way.

Your other option would be to do as Frasermoo so succinctly put it.

You need to think about what you want here, unless what you want is to post a nice askme about how you accidentally had an affair, help, didn't mean to, can't believe a married man came onto you, not your fault, little innocent flower, etc., etc., etc.
posted by yohko at 12:25 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You seem to think of this guy as an old friend who should be eager to hang out and chat with you, there's no indication in your question that he sees things that way."

This. It's not like you've known the guy for a long time and have a lengthy non-flirtation-based history between you. Pepe has been coming at you weez ze fleurtation from the beginning. There's not a whole lot of grounds for being confused about his intentions here.

You're the journalist and you are going to be deciding how to write about him and present his public image to the world. Consider that he might actually be bastard enough to want it to begin and end with that, and has never even had the slightest intention of trying to get his leg over. Consider, also: how harshly might he be negging you if you weren't a journalist and he didn't have to watch his back?
posted by tel3path at 12:38 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You need to think about what you want here, unless what you want is to post a nice askme about how you accidentally had an affair, help, didn't mean to, can't believe a married man came onto you, not your fault, little innocent flower, etc., etc., etc.

And please don't do this. For a bunch of reasons, including that this guy would play you like an easy Chopin prelude until it was convenient for him to dump you messily, and you'd wind up with no marriage and (perhaps) no career (because he's good at spinning things, and it would turn into Poor Roberto Stalked By That Crazy Person From The Radio Station).

If you want to end your marriage, end your marriage.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:41 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think it necessarily springs from immaturity, but from unfulfilled longings combined with, perhaps, the element of surprise? Maybe you've never been in a situation exactly like this before and are too swept away to be able to understand it with the cold objectivity that the rest of us are so proud of.

Yes, I agree with this. I didn't mean to be unduly harsh. You're lucky that you've managed to avoid master manipulators like this guy up til now, if that's the case!
posted by yarly at 1:11 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


After seeing your other question on this guy, what's going on with your reaction makes a bit more sense to me.

You don't state it explicitly, but it's implied that you are currently much more physically attractive now than at the time you married your husband. So, not only are you dealing with attention you have not had to learn to deal with before, but from men who might not have been so interested in talking to you before as well.

I'm going to say something that's probably a dark, dark thing that you have been avoiding, but if you continue to avoid it you will keep finding yourself in situations like this. It's possible that you might want to explore it further with a therapist or someone else who can help you sort out conflicting feelings.

Ready?

Ask yourself if being more attractive to men in general has affected your feelings about your decision years ago about who you chose to marry out of the men who were interested in dating you before, and if this is affecting your marriage, and if so in what way.
posted by yohko at 1:15 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, what yohko said! I see now that you are a lady, and that you are a lady who didn't get a lot of being hit on by sleazeballs earlier in her life, either because you were farther from the norms of "conventionally attractive" or because you were too shy to engage with people flirtatiously because you felt you were too far from the norms of "conventionally attractive."

So you have some catching up to do, methinks. And you're kind of all over the map on this, bouncing from "OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE TO PROVOKE THIS UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR" (answer: nothing) to "PERHAPS THIS IS TRUE LOVE SHOULD I GO FOR IT" (answer: no, it isn't, and you shouldn't).

Sorting the whole thing out--either with the help of a therapist or in conversations with friends who are better at managing these aspects of their lives--is really going to help you deal more professionally with the randoms you encounter in your professional life, whether you choose to stay in your marriage or leave your marriage. Obsessing about what someone means by flirting with you is taking away from your professional focus.

And please stop talking about this stuff with your work colleagues. It only reflects poorly on you, sad to say. Women dealing with inappropriate flirtation in a work environment are "supposed" to manage it with elan, not obsess about it with their co-workers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:30 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. I just want to jump on whatever bandwagon has formed about your personal, emotional involvment in what is, ostensibly, a professional relationship. I mean, I've had weird and awful experiences trying to coordinate interviews, but describing those to others would take a paragraph or two and maybe a quickie bullet list of logistics that went wrong.

You've written more here than what I would write on my breakup. Which was with someone I cared deeply about and wanted to spend significant chunks of my life with.

So...what's going on?
posted by vivid postcard at 6:06 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


what yohko said, absolutely!

This is a massive train wreck waiting to happen. You're an adult who's acting/thinking like a hormone-driven adolescent. If you regret earlier choices in made in life, well think them through and figure out what you do want. DO NOT "throw caution to the wind" and pursue some girlie crush just for the novelty of it.
Just ask yourself this: what are you hoping to accomplish with pursuing this guy? Sex? That you can probably get, meaningless sex on his side. What else?

Be professional. If you need a reference: how would you act if he were an old woman you found utterly unattractive? Proceed from there.
posted by Neekee at 6:53 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


But his music is more mature than he is! How can he be this consummate artist, and yet behave like a child in his personal life?

You are confusing the music for the person (whom you happen to find attractive). You're very obviously infatuated.

But I still feel like it could all be fine if I could just see the guy in person for once!

Why?

But he's making me feel like every single thing I'm doing is wrong, and it's stranger than shit. Why is he constantly scolding me? And I don't feel I've done anything wrong. Did I, though?

Classic ass hole pickup artist moves: acts like a jerk so girls will try to prove they're worthy of his 'high standards', scolding you like a child so that you react with, "But daddy, let me prove to you that I can be a good girl, I really do deserve your attention." Works like a charm with insecure women.
posted by Neekee at 7:08 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wanted to re-emphasize this remark from jbenben earlier:

Dissing your professional skills is a classic pick-up tactic designed to make you want to "prove" yourself to this man. Stop falling for it!

The particular PUA tactic he's using is called negging. Aside from everything everyone else has said, you're being played by someone who (thinks he) knows the game he's playing, and from what I know of "headliner" classical musicians he's got one in each town.
posted by mendel at 9:20 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was going to say what yohko said. It sounds like since you lost weight, more men find you attractive/you get hit on more. You enjoy the attention and excitement, so you don't just shut it down right away. If you value your marriage, you should stop indulging in these schoolgirl crushes and resulting flirtations.
Also, it may not be apparent to you, but if you are a conventionally attractive female, you'll get hit on fairly regularly, but not all of these men actually want to have anything real to do with you. They just like being seen flirting with attractive women and getting reciprocated attention from them.
posted by elpea at 5:48 PM on February 16, 2011


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