Creepy or Nice? How to tell the difference!
August 19, 2011 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Dating Filter: Is he creepy or just nice?

Oh, great HiveMind - please help a girl out! I've been through so many bad relationships and dating experiences, that I think that after a year off of soul-searching, I finally made the decision that I'm on top of it all, have made myself better and am ready to date again. Great!

For the past several months I have been on dates and had a few flings. I'm realizing that dating is difficult and there really are a lot of jerks out there. I'm a 30-something female and have everything in order for the most part. I've got awesome friends, a good family, a great support system, a solid roof over my head, a decent job, I don't know, I make it work and I know who I am. It's a good feeling. I want to meet someone and settle down, but am not going crazy with this or about kids or anything because life finally feels good - I want to settle down with someone who meshes with it all and am in no rush.

Anyway, back to the jerks. I think I might be too nice and accepting of people and generally enjoy being generous to others, which causes me to meet a lot of jerks who have lead me on, and then have either totally burned me, used me or have done something signicantly douchy to me or mean. At this point, I just chop them out of my life and move on.

I met this guy recently online, and...he's so nice. I don't know if I'm just so used to being burned and treated like crap by all the jerks out there that I feel like my guard is up. He just seems too...nice? What's wrong with me? Is this legitimate niceness or is it creepy? I don't know which end is up anymore!

- He compliments me constantly, tells me I'm beautiful, sexy, etc.
- He holds my hand, kisses me, hugs me, touches me
- We've been seeing each other for a month or so and have been intimate. It was good.
- He calls me every night, he emails every morning to say good morning.
- He cooks for me
- He pays for everything
- He has mentioned having "the talk", but only when I'm ready, he has explicitly told me that he's "into me".
- He has met a few of my friends (they thought he was nice, but..."meh". Datapoint: my friends think that no dude is good enough for me. I do not believe this, but this is why my friends rock).
- He generally goes out of his way/drops everything to hang out with me.
- He did slip up and blurted "Love you" when we parted ways a few dates ago. I didn't say anything and just let it go. I'm definitely not there.
- We have a ton of shared interests/hobbies that we've enjoyed together which is fun.
- I have not met his friends. I think he is one of those people who doesn't have too many friends, but the ones he does have are quality.
- His parents are divorced and he's really close with his mom, my parents are not divorced and I'm not too close with them (but close enough). He lives with a roommate and is also a 30-something (we are city dwellers, this is common) and has a solid job.

How do I know if this is creepy or a normal dude who likes me? If this is normal, how do I eventually let my guard down and trust him? I think we could make this a serious thing, which is great, but I don't know how to go about it. I've been so horribly burned in the past that it's hard to open my heart up again. If this seems normal, are there any red flags that I should look for or be on alert about? What else?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (71 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Well, when I just read the question, "Is he creepy or just nice?", I thought, "If you have to ask, he's probably creepy."

But then I actually read your question and it sounds like he's super nice--but that you're not into him as he is into you.
posted by too bad you're not me at 9:41 AM on August 19, 2011 [42 favorites]

I have been there... and am still looking.

From my experience, a guy getting attached too quickly can lead to obsession. I'd say just take things slow and if he's the right guy, your guard will come down on its own. Trust your instincts, and if you feel something is wrong, DON'T ignore it.

The only real potential red flag from what you said is not meeting his friends. Maybe you could suggest hanging out in a group or something. How a guy acts around his friends can be very telling.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:43 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hearty agreement with too bad you're not me. This is a guy who's absolutely nuts about you; you don't sound like you're nearly as enthusiastic about him.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:44 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds nice enough. I'm having a hard time seeing the creepy part.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:46 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Not creepy but a little ... fast. Especially if you started going out recently and he's on the "I Love You"s already. This might be possibly too fast for you, but you can make that call better than the peanut gallery. You haven't written any red flags and, yeah, after dating dicks I bet a dude who is extra-nice (and this dude is extra-nice, but bear in mind some dudes are without it being indicative of anything at all) would seem a little off. It's like going from raw jalapenos to chocolate cake with an extra layer of frosting: hella potential difference.

Anyway, this sounds like a normal, nice, if maybe a little desperate, dude who just really, really wants a girlfriend. Only you can tell if that means you or anyone. You haven't written anything that makes me sway either way on this, so, basically, it's you until something makes you seem its not.

Also, are your friends seriously never happy for you with regard to dudes? Because I would completely ignore their opinion, unless of course ever single dude you have ever introduced them to was a complete bastard. Not being glad for you finding a cool guy is not awesome behavior at all.
posted by griphus at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2011 [16 favorites]

Another vote for "doesn't sound explicitly creepy to me." I'd sit down and have a heart to heart with yourself. Are you really afraid of being burned, and having trust issues? Or do you just not like him as much, even though he's great on paper? There's nothing wrong with that.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 9:51 AM on August 19, 2011

- He calls me every night, he emails every morning to say good morning.
- He did slip up and blurted "Love you" when we parted ways a few dates ago. I didn't say anything and just let it go. I'm definitely not there.

This makes it sound like he's moving faster than you'd like, or that you aren't as into him as he is into you.

Not creepy though.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:51 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Daily 'good morning' emails are borderline creepy. But that's the only one out of 13 or so things you listed. I think that's a decent uncreep batting average.
posted by mullacc at 9:54 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

If this seems normal, are there any red flags that I should look for or be on alert about?

It seems normal and great! As for things to be on alert for:

1. If you start feeling like he's pushing or crossing your boundaries. Example, say you agree that you are going to be out of touch for a day spending time with your mom, and he calls you all day anyway.

2. You start feeling like you can't say no to him, whether that's because he'll get upset, mope, or you feel like you owe him for things he's done.

3. He starts parlaying things he's done for you into reasons that you need to go along with things he wants, whether he does this overtly or it seems more subtle.

4. He starts isolating you from other people in your life to spend more time with just him.

It doesn't sound like he does do any of these things though, and that's awesome. Just remember to trust your gut even if he seems great to everyone else and you can't put your finger on what exactly bothers you, or feel as if what's bothering you is stupid.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:55 AM on August 19, 2011 [43 favorites]

Not creepy.

Ask yourself why you've tolerated jerks in the past, but are hesitant to tolerate someone this nice. The answer to that question (which takes therapy for many people) might help you immeasurably in the future.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:57 AM on August 19, 2011 [10 favorites]

I agree that the not meeting friends thing is the only potential red flag here. Also agree with griphus that your friends going "meh" when you've met someone isn't cool. The only reason I usually don't like someone's partner is if they ignore me when we're out, because that's just not nice ( this aside from the cheating/abuse/other assorted crappiness of course). And even then i'd likely just not mention it.
posted by sweetkid at 9:57 AM on August 19, 2011

yea, just nthing that I don't think he sounds creepy or obsessive. How is his work/professional life? You say he pays for everything and goes out of his way/drops everything to hang out with you.

If he's a secure guy (who may not be as prone to getting creepy or clingy or obsessive), then I think he's just a nice guy.

However, if these nice gestures for you are causing a degradation of his quality of life, then you may need to watch out. For example, if he's in school and he goes out of his way to take you on a date but ends up failing an exam since he didn't stay home to study, that's not good. Similarly, if he's paying for everything on the dates and doesn't have enough left over to pay the bills at the end of the month, that's also not good.

There's a fine line between being nice and romantic and being a bit obsessive and somewhat self-destructive. We all react to "feeling in love" differently and there's always going to be a bit of self-sacrifice in the process.

But sometimes, nice guys are just genuinely nice, especially if they think they've found a nice girl who wants to hang out with them.
posted by johnstein at 9:58 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sounds nice, not creepy. He seems to move faster than you. I would ask a bit about his previous girlfriends, etc., to really give you some more insight. You should be able to tell if he scared them all away, or developed deeper/longer relationships with them.

Also, I would tell him to slow down, if that is, indeed, what you need. That way you will both be happy. You don't need to stay on his faster schedule. It will give you a chance to step back and see what you really think.
posted by Vaike at 9:59 AM on August 19, 2011

Hope you don't mind if I dust off a previous answer for ya.
posted by hermitosis at 9:59 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, a month is not a long time to go without meeting his friends. Sounds like you guys are already packing a lot into a small time frame. A month is nothing.
posted by Vaike at 10:00 AM on August 19, 2011

- He has met a few of my friends (they thought he was nice, but..."meh". Datapoint: my friends think that no dude is good enough for me. I do not believe this, but this is why my friends rock).

This is the only red flag I see! Are your friends only into people they think are really cool? I'm excited if my friends are dating someone I think is nice! That's the biggest compliment ever for potential boyfriend. (I'm over 35 though, so our standards may be in a different place - if my friends aren't dating douchebags it's awesome)

- He calls me every night, he emails every morning to say good morning.

If you're serious about each other this is very normal - but maybe you're just not as into him as he is into you? I think if you've been intimate and liked it you should either just go with it, or maybe tell him he's moving a little fast for you.
posted by rainydayfilms at 10:01 AM on August 19, 2011

I'm wary of people who are too into me too fast. I mean yeah, you're probably awesome and he may be into you for good reason... but still... the way he's acting after just a few weeks seems a little desperate and over the top. Sounds like a good fling that may crash and burn. I'm a believer that people should generally take it slow (not because I'm prudish) and become good friends first. Jumping in the deep end right away is a recipe for disaster.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 10:01 AM on August 19, 2011 [8 favorites]

He starts parlaying things he's done for you into reasons that you need to go along with things he wants, whether he does this overtly or it seems more subtle.

Oh, yes, this. You do not owe him a god damn thing for being nice to you and buying/making you dinners and all the other great stuff he does. You are not any sort of bank where he makes deposits now and takes them out later. The only reason I mention this is not because anything he is doing is making it look like he'll be trying that, but because you mention dating a lot of assholes and some nice-guy-seeming behavior is actually asshole behavior.
posted by griphus at 10:12 AM on August 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

I agree it sounds faster than you're ready to move but not inherently creepy.

BUT -- someone can be nice AND creepy. They're not mutually exclusive. I've talked about this friend of mine before who is awesome and fantastic and nice and his approach to women he's attracted to is DEAD CREEPY. If he could get past that first stage he'd be a great boyfriend (and eventually husband and father), but he's sooooooo creepy on approach. (Way creepier than this guy.) Some women have a weird dual response to him because they can tell he's nice but he also reads as creepy and they're not sure which to respond to.

(However, I am not remotely encouraging you to ignore creepy on the chance of underlying nice -- trust your gut. My friend is just one guy. I've known plenty of other nice/creepy guys who were, in fact, creepy, not nice.)

Anyway, it is legitimate to think someone is nice AND think they're a little creepy. Your feelings are normal and legitimate. My advice for this: "If this is normal, how do I eventually let my guard down and trust him?" is that you take it slow and have him "prove" his niceness and normality over time, looking out for red flags others have mentioned. And, as I've also said in the past, I just TOLD my now-husband that we had to take it slow, in case he was an axe-murderer. He laughed (good-naturedly) and did so, even though he thought I was being very silly. But he respected my boundaries and my need to NOT rush into things.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:12 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Other than the fact that you're asking the question whether he's creepy or nice, nothing at all in what you've said makes him seem creepy. And since you've been dating a lot of jerks lately, it's natural that the difference from jerk to nice will be jarring to you.

Even your friends, who are very protective of you and who think he's bland and not good enough for you, don't think he's creepy? He's just super nice.

The big thing here, I think, is that he wants to move faster and/or is much more into you than you are into him. I don't know if you're reaching break up with him territory yet because of that, but it definitely seems like that's part of what's going on and making you stop and wonder.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:15 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have to agree with everything else. You can't tell. That behavior is textbook nice/good guy. The real question is motivation or ability to maintain that, and the answer can only really be found through more time.

Ways to tell the difference:

1- How does he talk about people he doesn't like?
2- How does he describe former relationships?
3- How does he deal with surprises?
4- How does he treat "the help"?

And even then, hard to tell. It's hard to know when someone is "faking it" if they are a good enough faker. But someone who is super nice when things are going well, but talks shit about former relationships or people he doesn't like, may be trouble. Especially if nothing bad that ever happened was ever his fault.
posted by gjc at 10:15 AM on August 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

I can see where you're going with this. Yeah, some of that stuff is borderline creepy. Especially the daily morning and evening contact. But it depends really. Partly on how he reacts if you don't respond. Would he freak out or mope if you weren't home one night for the evening call? Or would he just leave you a message wishing you a nice evening and say he'll try to catch you tomorrow?

But creepy is really anything that makes you feel uncomforatable. You might want to ask (gently) if he would stop doing one or two of these things and see if that helps/how he reacts.
posted by Garm at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

The combination of

1) you have been "badly burned" before,
2) he is moving kind of fast and being super-attentive, and
3) you are feeling kind of weird about that

adds up to something like "double yellow flag" to me. The "sweep you off your feet Prince Charming" routine is a standard warning sign of an abuser, and women who have been in bad relationships in the past are particularly vulnerable to it. (See for instance Obsidian Wings' Excellent essay "Why do they stay?" "Imagine, in particular, someone whose last relationship was with someone who didn't seem to care about her: imagine her saying to herself: last time he didn't care enough; this time he seems to care too much; am I impossible to please?")

"Paying for everything" can be a form of control, too.

Pay attention to your wigged-out feelings. Is he more in control of the dynamic of the relationship than you are? What happens if you, for instance, say "I'd really like to take you out to dinner next time"? Actually, on preview, just pay attention to everything Ashley801 said.

The other thing that worries me about this dynamic is that you haven't met his friends yet. What kinds of friends he has, and how they talk about him, are big clues to his character.

By the way, I'll tell you that I have a friend whose boyfriends I was consistently "meh" about, in a "don't think any guy is good enough for her" kind of way. . . until she met a guy who was good enough for her. I could just tell that her heart sang when this fellow was around, though he wasn't anyone I'd want to date. Your friends may just be picking up on your own "I like this guy but I'm not crazy about him" vibe.
posted by endless_forms at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2011 [13 favorites]

Errm.....Sorry. I'm going to go against the flow here. I'm a little creeped out.

He sounds kind of desperate. I'm reading a lot of similarities to a guy I dated once -- really nice, very sweet, looked great for me on paper. But the attempts to woo me (all those nice things you listed) were like steps in a dance and he got mad when I didn't follow. ("Look, I cooked for you. I can't believe you won't meet my parents and marry me now.") And like everyone else here is pointing out -- I wasn't as into him as he was into me.

I guess you've got to decide for yourself how healthy it is for him to "go out of his way" and "drop everything" to be with you. Let me tell you about the time I took that same guy (a health professional who was virulently anti-smoking) to a smoky bar. I lit up and started puffing away in his face -- I mean, I was blowing smoke right in his face and he just sat there grinning and talking about what a great time we were having. Was that the nice and polite thing for him to do? Yes. Was it also creepy that he'd pretend he's OK with second hand smoke to be with me? Hell yes. [I know it was an awful thing to do, please don't castigate me.]

On the other hand, my boyfriend now does all those same things and it's not creepy at all. He also didn't do any of them within the first four weeks of knowing each other. (Well, he did always pay because I'm way poor.) He's sweet, generous, affectionate, and very loving, but he's not so over-the-top that I have to wonder if I'm creeped out.

Also -- this is important -- I've met his friends. Creepy guy mentioned above? Yeah, no real friends. I don't want to make a huge generalization but in my dating experience people with no friends at all are kinda red flags. It's a sign that he could be heaping all of his social needs on you, you become his only friend, and then you're sucked into always entertaining / caring for him to the detriment of your own diverse social life so that he doesn't feel lonely.

Go with your gut. Your friends thought "meh." What do you think?
posted by motsque at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2011 [20 favorites]

I don't think the effusiveness is creepy, but I also don't think it's something you need to take TOO seriously either. Not that he's lying, and not that he's trying to "butter you up" or anything - some people just get way caught up in the initial rush of things, and sometimes it makes them say things kind of strongly.

Sounds like he's just way smitten and he's giddy. He's still being respectful of your space (you say that he doesn't want to have "the talk" until YOU'RE ready, which...yay), and he's not pressuring you. Real creepy people don't do that kind of thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on August 19, 2011

He sounds incredibly needy. You need to find out about his past relationships.

I had the same kind of guy once, and it turned out very badly.

I'm not at all saying your guy is like that - there are people in the world who are giant cuddlebears of affection and just behave this way, but you seriously need to look at his past to find out if you can trust what he is putting out there.
posted by winna at 10:27 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

This: I have not met his friends. I think he is one of those people who doesn't have too many friends, but the ones he does have are quality. does he have any? are they assholes? would they clue you in on his relationship past?

Combined with this: He generally goes out of his way/drops everything to hang out with me what is he dropping? responsibility? leisure? family? friends? his lonely bowl of top ramen? does he tell you about all the wonderful other things he could be doing? does he brag that he let someone down so that he could see you?

worries me.

Count me in the number that says "if something is making your creepy meter beep, better to quietly bail on a great guy than get sucked into something painful with a creep."

Because here's the thing about the most dangerous creeps. They're charming. Very charming. They wouldn't be successful if everybody could tell and give concrete evidence of creepiness. In short, they look and act like fabulous people. Not just average. Fabulous! Does that suck for truly fabulous people? Often, it does.

As for this: they thought he was nice, but..."meh" this is almost exactly what several of my friends said about my abusive now ex-fiance. Some of them even acted like they thought he was awesome, even though they didn't want to be near him. He hadn't started abusing me yet, but they weren't that into him, and they weren't sure why. They didn't want to say straight out that he gave them the creeps. They're thinking was, if I stayed with this guy, our friendship would forever be tainted by the naysaying. Only one of my friends stepped up and said she was worried about some of his behaviors. She had specific things to point to after a dinner we shared. She was level headed and kind. Once he hit me, it was her words that came back to me and gave me the courage to leave. He'd already been saying mean things and controlling my behavior for a while. But I knew I wasn't crazy for thinking this guy that "everybody loves" was a danger to me.

I'm not saying that your beau is definitely a creep. But I am saying, look closely to see if there is a pattern of his actions not matching his words. After a month, you shouldn't be more important than everything else in his life, so if he's blowing off work, friends, or hobbies to spend time with you, consider that a red flag. Guard your boundaries. Maybe not with a pitchfork, but just watch where he steps around things you like and don't like. Watch how he attends to your personal safety, and watch how he follows up on your requets. In my case, the big red early early flad was texting while driving. The fourth time I brought it up, I said, "this doesn't just make me uncomfortable, it's really scary when you're sending text messages while the car is moving." He said, "Do you realize you're questionng my judgement?" and then he asked if he was supposed to change his behavior every time I was uncomfortable. I had the sense to respond that if my physical safety was at stake, yes he absolutey was to make changes. I did not have the balls to own up to questioning his judgement.

But all through the first six months he was very vocal that I was the one, fidelity was the most important thing to him, he couldn't wait to support me for the rest of our lives, he loved being a breadwinner. Then, that morphed into whenever he would buy himself something, it was "our money" but when he was buying me something it was "his money." He started harping on the fact that I hadn't written "my book" yet, after he'd talked me into quitting my soul sucking job. He told me I'd never amount to anything. Then, he called me 5'7 115# fat. He'd been physically "inappropriate" before, but then he hit me in a way that was undeniably across the line.

Now that you've read all that, check out this fact sheet. Go straight to Page 3 of this PDF. Does the guy you're seeing know about your history with other men? Have you hinted, even vaguely, that you have a tendency to allow yourself to be taken advantage of? If yes (and I'd bet money it's a yes, because these guys can smell women like us from a mile away.), he knows that you're on the lookout for the obvious signs of jerkitude. My fiance spent more than 6 months grooming me, and he was genuinely surprised that I left.

I'll pass on more wisdom from the friend who saved my life. I didn't realize it at the time, but

- He compliments me constantly, tells me I'm beautiful, sexy, etc.
- He holds my hand, kisses me, hugs me, touches me
- We've been seeing each other for a month or so and have been intimate. It was good.
- He calls me every night, he emails every morning to say good morning.
- He cooks for me
- He pays for everything
- He has mentioned having "the talk", but only when I'm ready, he has explicitly told me that he's "into me".

Those things are not fantastic. Those things are the bare minimum of early relationship courtesy. Yes, I'm including the "good" sex and not pushing to have "the talk." Paying for everything might even be creepy. You deserve a man who makes you feel like a goddess. And that man in turn, deserves for you to be trusting and open. You do not, for whatever reason, trust this man. After my own experiences, I can't blame you. Again, I'm not saying anything whatsoever about his actual character, because that doesn't actually matter right now. What matters, right now, is you have doubts that are serious enough to cause you to turn to internet strangers for an answer. If you want permission to dump an apparently perfectly nice guy, you have it.
posted by bilabial at 10:30 AM on August 19, 2011 [18 favorites]

He calls me every night, he emails every morning to say good morning.


posted by nathancaswell at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

That sounds more needy actually.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 10:33 AM on August 19, 2011

It is needy right now, but needy can quickly become creepy.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:35 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would only dispute one thing out of bilabial's fantastic post:

You deserve a man who makes you feel like a goddess. And that man in turn, deserves for you to be trusting and open.

I don't think I would say that anyone deserves or is owed your trust. I think it's unfortunately easy to fall into the trap of feeling guilty that you don't trust someone who you feel deserves it, and so then going along with things you don't want to go along with. Or not questioning things that you want to question.

IMHO, if you don't trust someone right away, that's perfectly fine. Maybe you will trust him once he earns your trust, or maybe you never will. Either way, don't stifle that part of yourself.
posted by Ashley801 at 10:43 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think the important thing to ask is, how do you feel about all this? Do you like it, enjoy it, do you feel comfortable that he's doing all these things? If I was in your position, I'd think it was a bit much, which makes me think that that I'm a lot more cautious than the people on this thread! The things that would bug me are calling every night and emailing every morning, talking about having "the talk", dropping everything to hang out. This is the sort of stuff that I would try to slow down, and his reaction would say a lot if you choose to do this. I see these things as indicators of not having his own life, being too dependent, and feeling like I have to validate/reward this behaviour so he can feel good about himself. But maybe I'm reading way too much into this. I have a very low tolerance for what I perceive as needy. Can your friends go into more detail beyond "meh" about him? Can you meet his friends? Do you feel like you're an equal in this relationship?

Just make sure that you're not being fast forwarded.
posted by foxjacket at 10:45 AM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Hey, I have done all of that stuff and I'm not creepy (I think). Some people are just enthusiastic and like do things well. How about telling him (nicely) you think he's being a little too hyper and maybe to tone it down a little bit?
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:48 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, Ashley801 is so right. I worded that part very poorly. I meant, the right guy for you will be someone you feel comfortable trusting. Not that he will automatically have your trust, and not that being trustworthy is something intrinsic and inherently knowable. But that a relationship with someone you do trust will be so much better for both parties.

Not that he is trustable because you like him. But that he just behaves in ways that are not suspicious to you.

Why am I not wording this well?

Let me try again. The right man for you will be one that you trust. That man will deserve your trust. If there is something glaringly uncomfortable to you about a potential partner, then he is not the right guy for you. He won't deserve your trust because he treats you in one way or another. It will be in addition to that.
posted by bilabial at 10:50 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

In the last relationship I had with a woman, I treated her similar to that. What is key is that I was being sincere and honest. When I doted and constantly told her how beautiful she was, I was telling her the truth. I was in love with her. That's how men behave when they are really in love.

It does seem that you are not in love with him. You are going about this like you are picking out a new car. If sparks don't fly, don't rush it. If he is lying when he says you are beautiful, well, then you may have a liar on your hands.

Take more time and don't force it to grow. Let it bloom or fade on its own. Not that I am any expert.
posted by nogero at 10:57 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I dunno, if you're getting a creep vibe have you actually talked to him about it? It seems that if you can't talk to someone about this stuff, they automagically aren't the right person...sort of by not passing that kind of minor hurdle.

Especially if they are being as communicative as this guy is. Why speculate, why worry when you can just talk to the dude about this stuff? I think you're going to get a lot of mixed responses based on everyones personal experiences when you can kind of cut to the chase and tell him it's too much or ask him what the deal is without discouraging it if you like the communications.

TL;DR: Don't toss him in the creepy category without communicating back at him on a level playing field.
posted by iamabot at 11:01 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

and women who have been in bad relationships in the past are particularly vulnerable to it.

Please pardon me; I should have said people who have been in bad relationships in the past are particularly vulnerable to it. I just reread my own comment and my gendered assumptions are glaring and unnecessary.
posted by endless_forms at 11:02 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Argh I was just about to say NEEDY when babby beat me to it.

Most likely in my opinion, he really needs/wants attention. He wants your time. He wants to have someone to talk to first thing in the morning, wants to have someone ask "and how was your day?", wants regularity, check-ins, flattery, etc. Whether he means to be or not, he's trying to show you how it's done, and asking for reciprocity. This isn't inherently creepy, it's just more relationship than it sounds like you want with him right now. And the fact that he can't see that indicates that he's got normal iffy social skills like all the rest of us, and can come off as creepy when he doesn't mean to be.

In any case, he's trying way way way too hard to get this relationship established. Apparently he can't wait for things to move at a more natural pace. Why's that?
- he isn't used to being single and really wants to be half a couple - he's not creepy, but also not healthy.
- he loves having a project or a goal and right now that goal is you; this situation might not last once the goal is reached.
- he's insecure and is worried that he's innately unappealing, so he's trying super-hard to get this established and show off his kindness and good qualities before you notice he's [bald, chubby, broke] (depending on what it is he's so worried about, this is a pretty non-creepy option)
- gaming the system: seeing if he can get sincere affection out of you by insincerely pushing your buttons (buying you dinner, flattery, etc). Creepy and playerish.
posted by aimedwander at 11:03 AM on August 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Needy and creepy. Sounds like he's looking for a warm body and decided that he liked you before ever really getting to know you. Saying the L word and things like "He has mentioned having 'the talk', but only when I'm ready," sounds to me like his friends told him, "dude, girls don't like it when you have the talk too soon." He's already built up in his mind that you're the one for him, and he's just going through the motions that he memorized from his friends until you reciprocate.

Of course, as others have said, none of this is needy and creepy if you feel the same way about him. If he says things that you're not comfortable with, tell him to knock it off.
posted by Melismata at 11:04 AM on August 19, 2011

Your history may be influencing how you perceive this guy. You've been burned.
Here's a take to consider: He's brave. He's let you see his interest, his heart.
So, however it turns out, be gentle with him.

Have you read this book?
posted by ragtimepiano at 11:05 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

What's his relationship history? None of this sounds creepy so much as inexperienced or socially clueless, like he hasn't learned that women get freaked out by his enthusiasm. Maybe he just can't believe his luck finding such a nice catch? That's kinda like how I was as a teenager, and here I am happily married to the rebound girlfriend after my first relationship at 16. Maybe no one ever told him it's an issue, and if not, would you want to end the relationship for that reason alone?

Plus, people with just a few close friends probably skew a bit to the clingy side of the spectrum. They can't afford to have friends disappear on them after investing so much in them.
posted by pjaust at 11:06 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not creepy. You met a nice guy who thinks about you. What's the problem?
posted by BurnChao at 11:07 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, if your friends don't like him and you think your friends rock then I can't see this working out. It sounds like you don't respect him really. But maybe you do. I don't know. Do you need a guy to make you feel insecure and "accepting"? Maybe you've asked yourself that question already.

He probably is really ready to get serious too. But you should probably just dump him because it's going to get awkward. I'm sure you can find someone that clicks better for you. Plus he'll know that your friends hate him and it will just make him feel like a turd. I would recommend the Miko dump.
posted by dobie at 11:09 AM on August 19, 2011

I can't tell from here whether he's creepy or not. However, nothing that you've written about him indicates that he is.

No, nothing that you've written about him indicates that he's creepy. But, the fact that you've written about him suggests that he could be.


it could mean that he's more into you than you are into him, which makes you feel like he's all up in your grille and invading your emotional space. However, he treats you well and you can't find any rational justification for objecting to that.

The first explanation that our culture has to offer is that you are The Woman Who Craves Abuse, or The Woman Who Doesn't Like Nice Guys, because surely if you were emotionally healthy you would have an obligation to be crazy about a guy who treats you well for a change, right? Right??? I mean you're not keeping up your end of the bargain because he IS really nice and the only alternative is a puppy-torturing womanizing villain who twirls his moustache, isn't it?

Well, no. For one thing, if somebody's calling you twice a day and it's only a month in, what is it going to be like after you've been living together for 2 years? You're going to get pretty bored pretty quickly. It leaves you with nothing to look forward to and no dramatic tension. He's all yours, he's your little spaniel. That's kind of irritating, frankly, unless you feel just as intense; and even then it's risky. "Niceness" has nothing to do with this, it's more like overavailability and overexposure. He could be just as "nice" without jumping every time you snap your fingers.

Plus which, it *has* only been a month. You don't really know him yet. Two years from now he could turn out to be someone else entirely. You know this, not because you're suspicious of him particularly, but because it's a fact. And yet here he is dropping the L-word after a month. That is pressure, whether it's intended as such or not.

So yeah, I'd be feeling a bit funny myself, in the circumstances. I'm not saying DTMFA or take out a restraining order, or that you should throw yourself into it and buy a house together, or that you should do anything in particular. Just that your discomfort is reasonable and isn't a sign that you have some deeper psychological issue.
posted by tel3path at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'd keep seeing him. It sounds like you are enjoying this--that's good. Some people are ok with this level of interest, some people aren't.

So take your time, enjoy it now. The rest will figure itself out. Deep breaths.

Let your feelings be your guide.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:20 AM on August 19, 2011

Obviously, 44 posts later, there is no clear call on this. However, from what you have described, I dont' think that you get to call it creepy until he knows that some types or intensities of attention are not wanted. If you tell him that the "every single night and every single morning thing" is a bit much and he persists, that's creepy.

I really don't think you're going to figure out if he's the nicest guy ever or a potential stalker until you state some boundaries and see what happens. But I think you should go find out!
posted by DarlingBri at 11:23 AM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Sounds like a pretty good guy, but he's gotten into you before you've gotten into him. So just communicate with him about that -- let him know you heard what he said, and that you don't feel the same way quite yet, but that you'd like to continue the relationship to see how it goes.

Based on his reaction to that, you should know whether he's a good guy or a bad guy pretty quickly.
posted by davejay at 11:42 AM on August 19, 2011

He may be needy -- but what everybody else sees as needy, he may see as "I've decided to date, and since I'm dating, I'm giving it my focus. I do these things (email in the morning, call in the evening, etc) and go about my day." It's very easy for some people to take feedback from a previous relationship ('you don't give me enough attention') and then turn it into a "things a person iwho is interested in someone else does" to do list, and that could easily be happening here.*

Just because he isn't playing by The Rules (or whatever the male equivalent is) doesn't make him automatically a creepster. You can read everything he's doing badly if you want but it sounds pretty decent to me, but I'm a 'innocent until proven guilty' type as far as relationships go, and find judging people by other's past mistakes pretty tough to do. If you want him to stop, tell him. But if you're enjoying it so far, don't put a stumbling block up where so far, it seems, none exists.

* Think about it if you put the shoe on the other foot. What if you hadn't posted this anonymously and he found out you had posted this question and his reaction to others was "I can't believe this person I'm dating is asking people on the Internet for advice after just a month. Why is she always thinking about me?" Obviously, that wouldn't be a fair read of the situation. And I think the golden rule applies. If the attention he's giving you isn't something you've asked him not to do, then don't punish him for it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh, and there are a lot of things on that list that, while most women I've dated might have found to be too much attention, others would consider it the minimum baseline. So keep in mind he might have a history with the latter sort of women. Best if you two start talking about this sort of thing...for instance, ask him why he insists on paying for everything, or take him out and pay for it one night and see what kind of conversation it sparks.
posted by davejay at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Obviously, 44 posts later, there is no clear call on this.

I think you need to keep in mind that this is about what you want, not what 44 random strangers want. They are not dating him. I guess the point of what I was trying to say is--do you like how he treats you? Is this what you like? If you are asking if he's going to stop being so nice or get mean, well anyone who has that figured out needs to tell you first who is going to win the 4th race at Belmont this afternoon so you can hurry up and bet the ponies, because we can't know the future or what he will do. And we can't tell you when to open up. You are far more informed on the situation.

What we can do is give you guidelines as to how you might analyze the problem to come up with your own answers.

The question is do you feel like opening up to him? I advise that if you do, put a toe in the water. Open up a little. One of the issues you may have is the fallacy of the missing middle. Opening up isn't a all-or-nothing thing, you can open up some, see how that goes, open up more, see how that goes, etc.

The other thing is that its perfectly fine if he's got stronger feelings for you than you have for him. This is normal. One party pretty much has to have stronger feelings at any one time.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

This guy sounds like me. Exactly like me, before I chilled out a bit. I'm therefore going to give you the advice I'd give if he was me as I was five years ago.

I would say that he feels he's generally not that great at getting girls to notice him, and therefore he piles on the nice to make up for it. He's a nice guy, but with some insecurities, and these can result in him overdoing things, perhaps rushing a relationship instead of relaxing and letting it happen.

My advice is, keep this one, don't rush it (and don't let him rush it) and be ready to soothe anxieties because he will have them. Self-doubt is probably his major achilles heel.

Of course I could be way off the money, but this guy sounds eerily like me.
posted by fearnothing at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Kind of a strange dialectic to pin yourself into. Sure, we can say "yes, he's creepy" or "no, he's just really nice with a side of clinginess." But, who cares? Do you like being with him? Are you prepared to accept some neediness? We can't tell you if his neediness will develop into something "creepy" or if it will naturally resolve as your relationship matures. But, the fact that you're looking for external validation means that you really aren't understanding yourself, let alone his character. Be patient and aware and try not to box in your perceptions of him as one thing or the other. Then try to see if you want to continue with this.

At any rate, since you've already slept with him I don't see why you can't also have this kind of conversation with him as well. If you can't be emotionally intimate or at least frank, then maybe sex isn't really helping things either.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

As a Stranger From The Internet, I can tell you that IMHO this guy is merely being nice and is certainly more in to you than you are in to him. Seems to me like it couldn't hurt to date him for a while and see how things develop; if you become more in to him then things will naturally even out, and if they don't then you'll break it off. In the mean time, unless there are other dudes out there that you'd rather be with, what's the harm?
posted by Aizkolari at 12:30 PM on August 19, 2011

Also, I'm not seeing neediness in the description here. To me that means making demands, getting angry when someone won't do something with you etc. This guy seems like he likes her more than she likes him. That's normal, not needy. Needy is where it interferes with things. It sounds like when she calls him he says sure. That doesn't mean he's demanding time with her, just that he's doing things with her when she likes.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:59 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take this anecdote with a huge grain of salt:

a woman I know recently dated a man (she met online) for over 6 months. She thought he might be "the one" because he was so sweet, nice, smart, into doing fun activities and was pretty much what she'd been wanting in a partner. Until his behavior suddenly became very strange in indisputable ways and it turns out he likely has a personality disorder (or two). Often people with personality disorders (Borderline, Narcissistic) know how to tap into exactly what the other person wants/needs because they've become so good at reading people in order to survive and hide their substantial differences.

This is a big FWIW because I have NO idea if this applies to this dude. Some things you said just rang this bell for me and I wanted to mention it just in case.

Other than that, so much fast attachment would creep me out or at least bother me if I didn't reciprocate it, but that's just my style (I hate feeling trapped).
posted by tacoma1 at 1:18 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know, I've dated this kind of guy before. He turned out to be an unholy mess. He was amazing on paper, but used nice as a cover in all the ways Ashley801 describes so well. The signs were there, but the nice thing lent him just enough plausible deniability that I started to disregard my own judgement. Things I wish I'd done differently:

Don't be in such a damn rush to be in a relationship
Always listen to my gut
Have and keep healthy boundaries
Believe I deserve to be treated well, and expect nice as the baseline
Watch for and don't dismiss manipulative behavior

I don't know that your guy has crossed the line from needy to creepy. I do know I'd keep an eye on things like how he behaves if you're not available for that nightly phone call/morning email. Are the check-ins your cute, mutually affectionate thing? Or do they give you that sinking feeling because he tries to make you feel obligated or guilty? Does he act passive aggressive or suspicious about where you were or what you were doing? Even in the form of good-natured 'teasing'?

Maybe he's the best guy in the world, and just a little intense. You still get to set the pace you feel comfortable with and if you decide he's not for you, that's ok. Good behavior doesn't entitle anyone to a relationship and just because he's a nice person doesn't necessarily make this a good match. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!
posted by Space Kitty at 1:29 PM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

my experience with a seemingly similar type of guy was that he just didn't actually know himself - or me. And he was just fixated on some ideal of romance and romantic relationships and most likely women. When things got real, everything blew up in my face.
posted by abirdinthehand at 1:51 PM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Tell him you like him but need space and ask him to contact you less. See how he reacts.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:54 PM on August 19, 2011

Just to show a slightly different perspective: I would expect the kind of enthusiasm your guy is displaying as par for the course at the beginning of a relationship, with some variations in manifestation (for instance, morning emails would be lost on me, since I work through much of the night). But I would want it to happen in a more sort of "offline" space, meaning that it has to be slightly separate from our daily lives, so, for instance, no overly long rants about work or your daily life. And no precipitated meeting of friends/family (unless there is a good reason - someone who is only rarely around is suddenly in town and you would like them to meet your new man). If I were your guy, I would actually find being introduced to your inner circle very quickly slightly unsettling. I might wonder if I need to pass a jury-test before you feel you can date me (so you'd seem very non-autonomous), or that you are jumping the gun, etc. - a bit like what you feel about him.

So: based on the information in your post, I personally would definitely not see him as needy (I'd also like to add that, the above notwithstanding, I have learned meanwhile that not everybody has my peculiar set of squeamishness triggers, so I would not be worried about early introductions, either). Still, I would take dating as an opportunity to learn more about him (as per this article), and pay close attention to signs of unease. These could refer to anything "red flag"-like, but also more prosaic things, such as you not being, ultimately, that into him. If you learn to listen to and interpret yourself, you are also less likely to end a good thing because you get unduly scared by what others might regard as needy (it is one of the sad laws of human interaction that it is the very same behaviours that give us butterflies from one person and the shivers from another - and he might respond to some subliminal signals you send, making his behaviour essentially not needy. But you are the one to judge that...).
posted by miorita at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

What's jumping out at me is that something about this guy's behavior is not sitting right with you.

So maybe I think he seems swell, others think he's a's irrelevant.

What I advise you to do is listen very carefully to that teenytiny little voice saying "I'm not happy here," and then decide if you want to continue seeing this guy.

All I know is every single time I've ignored that little voice I've regretted it.

Trust your instincts.
posted by kinetic at 2:01 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Does he know you've been "burned" so much? Could his behavior be a, "I'm not like all the other jerks!" manifesto? From personal experience, dating someone who has indicated they have lost a fair bit of faith in the opposite sex can make one overdo it to allay your fears.

If he knows about your romantic past.....not creepy.
posted by teg4rvn at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going with nice, enthusiastic, and ready to date.

The thing I've noticed about online dating is that a lot of the guys on there cut the crap. They're on there because they're looking for a relationship, and the way to get to a relationship is to be honest about your feelings for someone instead of jerking them around. This is a HUGE difference from casual dating, online or off.

With one exception (the "I love you'), this describes my husband when we met a little over three years ago. I had just come out of a bad relationship and did not trust his actions for a long time, but they haven't changed in the time I've known him. He's just a nice guy - complimentary, affectionate, honest. [Quite literally, I have seen him help an old lady cross the street.] It came off as really weird until I got used to it, but some people are just like that.

My only question would be does his affection or interest feel smothering? Does his dropping everything for you or paying for everything make you feel like you owe him something in return?

Also, even early on, my husband called me on my crap, which is a good way to balance the niceness - does your guy do that? Or is he so solicitous that anything you do is fine with him, even when it's counter to what he's told you about himself, a la motsque's example? Not that I'm recommending abusing his gallantry, but surely a situation has or will come up where you're less than stellar to him. How he reacts to that is a good gauge of a person, I think.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:11 PM on August 19, 2011

I dated a guy EXACTLY like this last year. He didn't turn out to be a maniac or a serial killer or anything, but he was way more into me than I was into him, and when I tried to get him to chill out with the hour long phone calls every single day, he got even MORE clingy. I eventually had to break it off with him because he couldn't even give me 30 minutes alone with my dying mother in the hospital, so great was his need to call me and txt me all the time. In his mind he was "being there for me as much as possible at a hard time in my life" but in my mind he was just being incredibly intrusive and relentless, despite the fact that he was hands down the nicest guy I ever dated.

so. ymmv.
posted by elizardbits at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

another vote for creepy

why? because it creeps YOU out

also, he has a boundaries problem
posted by zia at 2:52 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, when I met my husband, for weeks or maybe months afterwards I was like, "this can't be this good, there has to be something wrong I'm missing." I even remember going to my high school reunion right after I met him and telling a classmate, "you know he's tall, he's good looking, he's funny, he has a good job, he doesn't live with his parents...I just can't figure out what's wrong with him." And it turned out there was nothing wrong...He was the right guy for me and I had never experienced that before, so it was very a good way:)
posted by bananafish at 3:16 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Definitely a YMMV. I mean, if it's too much contact/etc for you, then that's a problem. But I've dated women where, as some posters above said, this would be more like a minimum. I've also been with a woman who didn't care if she didn't hear from me for days.

So it's hard to say what he considers normal, or too much, or whatever. He doesn't sound creepy, he just likes a lot of communication/attention. He may also be used to being with women who like that a lot, and thus doesn't consider that it might be too much for you.

You could just run with it, you could talk to him about it, or you could just decide it's not compatible with what you want. If you don't say anything it won't change (you may or may not actually want it to change). If it bothers you enough, you should either say something or end it, because he's probably just like this naturally, and if it's not a fit then he should find a woman who likes it (there are a lot of them!) and you should find a guy who wants less (also a lot of those).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2011

I'm with bananafish on this - sometimes a nice guy is exactly that.

And I had some "meh" reactions from family to my extremely nice guy (who has done me the great honor of being my husband for more than 11 years now!!), but that's because my guy is careful of the feelings of others - so he had to get to know them before he'd try teasing them a little or letting more of his personality out.

Also, not-so-nice people - a lot of times they bring a lot of drama along with them. Sometimes it is easy to mistake drama for excitement or passion or ... just something more than it really is.

And my nice guy moved fast too - he and I were married 5 short months after we started dating - but our "OMGTHISISTHEONE" thing was mutual - sounds like yours may not be. And if he is heads-y heels-y over you, and you aren't about him - you may want to let him know you need to move a bit slower.

But nice guys - they rock.
posted by hilaryjade at 5:48 PM on August 19, 2011

He sounds like a really nice guy that you're just not that into. Self awareness, as ever, is your friend. Do you really want a nice guy, or another bastard. Because you seem to have found the former yet it's not to your taste. Good luck.
posted by dmt at 7:52 AM on August 20, 2011

I'm a nice guy and I've definitely been on his side of the equation. After each of the 'nice guy' things you listed above, ask yourself: Do I like this? If you do.... what's the problem?

I'm fascinated by the whole dating thing. Dating is a lot like the lottery except that when someone wins the lottery they don't freak out about whether or not the money is real. Instead, they freak out about all of the ways they want to enjoy it - beginning with quitting their job.

I don't mean to be rude, but it sounds like the problem is you, not him. Maybe there's something about jerks that you actually like. If this guy is too nice for you, drop him. Let someone else pick up that winning lottery ticket. Dating sucks, and there are hopefully lots of other women who would love to find a nice guy.
posted by 2oh1 at 11:58 AM on August 20, 2011

So on the one hand, a lot of the things you list are or are not creepy depending on the context and what he's like. I know men that do all those things and it doesn't come off creepy because they are just generous "all in" kind of guys. Not that common, but they exist. On the other hand, I've met guys who do many of these things because they are insecure and a bit desperate, so it's more of an act they put on because they feel like that is what you need to do to keep a girl, especially if they perceive her to be out of their league. I don't know which one your guy is, he may be a bit of both. Nothing you say screams "potential abuser" to me at all. But that doesn't mean some of this isn't an act. I do find it odd you haven't met his friends and that he may not have many friends, especially if he isn't the introverted type. Meeting his friends might answer a lot of your questions. For someone so head over heels and wanting to spend so much time with you, it's odd you haven't met his friends.

Either way, you just seem along for the ride and are sticking around because he is treating you so well. While it's great you've gotten away from dating jerks, that doesn't mean you have to be in a relationship with someone just because they are nice and treat you well, if you just aren't into to them.
posted by whoaali at 7:50 PM on August 20, 2011

Another vote for listening to your intuition. I agree this behavior is maybe not really creepy, but just "practiced". He doesn't seem to have a sense of where your boundaries are, and maybe that's what's making you feel a bit creeped out. Also, one thing that you didn't mention: does he make you laugh? I personally think shared sense of humor is pretty critical, and can be a good way to assess where he stands on the creep-o-meter. And it bears repeating: just because he's a nice guy doesn't mean he's any more "right" for you than the types who might more obviously display jerkiness.
posted by gubenuj at 9:56 PM on August 20, 2011

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