"Hey I had a really great time not kissing you tonight!"
September 12, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I've got to confront this girl about her mixed messages, but how do I do that?

I'll keep this short as I can - I know none of you can tell me what this woman actually wants from me, and that the only way I can figure it out is to ask her directly, but I have no real idea how to go about that.

We've been going on dates for a solid month, and the dates are usually really long - 6, 7 hours of chatting, some flirting. About two weeks ago, we accidentally got drunk in the afternoon and made out in a bar, and then a week later I invited her to my house for dinner. There was a little kissing, but not much, and she was very limp in my arms and she said she was tired and took off. This was at about 3am, so I don't blame her. Also, her OkCupid profile makes some comments about being sexually passive.

Since then, we've been seeing eachother, but she's not been very receptive to my attempts to kiss her, but continues to text/email me all day. On Friday, we go out, I give her a gift, she's super flirty, and I'm putting my arm around her and she's putting her face in my neck, but then at the end of the night she doesn't let me kiss her, and turns down the invitation to have a good night drink at my house. So, I think after tonight's date, if she doesn't want to come back to my place, it probably means she's not physically interested in me. But, maybe not? I don't really get it - I have to ask her what the hell's going on.

But how do I do that? The date is going to see a show, so I couldn't really ask her then, and I don't want to make it a weird thing by asking her before the date, and it seems strange to ask AFTER I'd asked her to come up and she's said no. Do y'all have any thoughts? Is it better to do this outside of a dating context? What the hell do I even say? I really like this girl, but I'm super confused and ready to bail just to avoid the rollercoaster.

Thank you! I'm an idiot, and she's confusing. It's a terrible combo.
posted by OrangeDrink to Human Relations (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You're gonna have to ask. And if she's the type that thinks its "wrecked" by you asking, you have to let this one go.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:16 AM on September 12, 2011 [12 favorites]

Take her for coffee at a diner after and ask her then.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:17 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Why does the date have to go [event] -> [my place for drinks and makeouts]?

Why not [event] -> [somewhere for coffee/dessert/a soda but NOT alcohol] -> [figure out what to do from there]?

The [somewhere for coffee/etc.] bit can be a possible place to have the chat.
posted by no relation at 9:18 AM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

If you've ruled out that you have bad breath, BO, visible nose hairs, and/or weird kissing technique, and anything else that you can modify, Ironmouth's got it.
Have you had luck with the ladies before? Meaning, women haven't shunned your lips?
posted by Ideefixe at 9:20 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Uhm, I've had a few years long relationships, but I haven't really dated someone in about five years. I'm twenty-eight, if that's significant. I've only had compliments on my kissing, but I'm probably a bit rusty.

I think you've got a good point, no relation. It might make more sense to have a talk after the show rather than just blindly inviting her back to my place.
posted by OrangeDrink at 9:29 AM on September 12, 2011

FWIW, yes: she's giving out mixed signals.

One possibility is that she's emotionally damaged, or someone still working out issues from earlier abuse. She just might not be in a place where she can pursue a "normal" physical relationship right now.

Another is that, somewhere during the dates, you're sending out some signal/saying something douchey/turning her off by leaping past some boundary. We can't judge that, and obviously it's hard for you to do that, either; she could shed insight, if anyone.

And there are several other possibilities. Most of them can be explained & resolved with more talking... which is hard at that stage of a romance!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:30 AM on September 12, 2011

Hey [Sexy yet Passively Sexual Girl],
You're awesome, and I love spending time with you. I also love that we haven't rushed our physical relationship because getting to know you has been amazing. I'm cool doing things at your pace, but I just wanted to double check and make sure that you were as into me physically as I am into you, because you're smoking hot.

Orange Drink


Communication is the foundation of successful relationships. If you can't communicate openly and honestly, maybe it's time to bail.
posted by JimmyJames at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2011 [9 favorites]

You're really not an idiot. Effective communication is difficult in the early stages of dating, thank goodness chemistry comes along and does a lot of the talking for you!

I agree with no relation: go to a coffee shop. Buy a drink. Sit at a table.

You: 'Hey, sorry, but I have to ask... I get the impression that you're avoiding physical intimacy with me. Am I right? If so, I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me why.'

Then take a deep breath and listen, because you're quite right - we don't know any more than you do. She might honestly not want it yet. She might be reeling from some personal issues. She might not think it's anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps she doesn't even know herself.

If she avoids giving you a straight answer, I would suspect either she's not feeling the chemistry (but enjoying the attention), or there's an unfortunate smell issue or kissing technique you need to address.

But I repeat: you're not an idiot. We've all been there.
posted by dumdidumdum at 9:32 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can ask her, sure -- after a month, this level of trepidation about kissing is a bit much -- just make sure you don't phrase it in "why aren't you putting out?" terms because you never want to question someone's speed-to-physical-intimacy. This goes especially when she's admitted to being "sexually passive," whatever that means for her.

If over the course of a month of 6-7 hour dates you have made out twice and one of those times required her to be drunk and the other time to be 3 AM, I wouldn't hold out much hope here, unfortunatealy. I'd say she might be the sort of girl who is leaving all the initiative to you, but if she's actively turned you down, ehhhh.
posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on September 12, 2011

As for the actual icebreaker, how about something like "I'm having such a great time with you (etc.). I'd really like to kiss you again, too, but I get the feeling that you're not quite as interested in that. How would you like for things to proceed from here?"
posted by argonauta at 9:34 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

(on non-preview, yeah, what the smart people above me said)
posted by argonauta at 9:34 AM on September 12, 2011

a month of dating is 4 dates? maybe 6? i don't think she's damaged for not making out with you. go on and ask her, but i wouldn't jump to conclusions about her being abused (wtf) or anything.

also, maybe shorten your dates. 7 hours is a really long time. she might just be worn out and ready to shed her spanx, shoes, cute-but uncomfortable jeans for the evening and curl up with some bad tv.
posted by nadawi at 9:37 AM on September 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

A few things to try before writing her off (just in case it is you not her):

1) Before the date, gargle with hydrogen peroxide (do not swallow). Then gargle with water, and finish off by gargling with a strong mouthwash. Also, consider getting some breath mints. Just in case she is detecting a smell or taste that you cant.

2) Try kissing her with either your mouth closed or barely open with no tongue. I can think of more then one time in my past where a man I was with did not realize that my feminine mouth and tongue are smaller then his and consuming me with his gaping tongue/mouth combo is in no way sexy (and quite uncomfortable).

3) Switch deodorants, you body can become immune to a certain variety after a while and you may not even notice it. It is a good idea to switch brands every time you need to go by a new stick to prevent this.

4) try not kissing her for the entirety of the date and see if she attempts to kiss you of her own free will. Just in case she is currently feeling "attracted but pressured".
posted by Shouraku at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

Another viewpoint. What's going on for her may not be something she wants to talk about in a public place. A walk might work, or that might feel unsafe. I vote you defer the discussion and hold it either at your next dinner party with possible follow-up by email if she's having trouble articulating what's going on for her.
posted by salvia at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2011

I think no relation's advice above is good - have the conversation at a neutral place.

The fact that she has language in her OKCupid profile about being sexually passive tells me that she considers that a defining part of her character and wants to be upfront about it. Maybe she has been hurt in the past, maybe she's closer to asexual, who knows - you'll only find out by asking her (gently). The signals are mixed; however, maybe she feels she's been upfront about this in her profile and so you should already know that she prefers a (much) slower pace. It's an awkward conversation, but at least she's already opened the door to it by mentioning it on her profile.

Good luck!
posted by widdershins at 9:42 AM on September 12, 2011

Hey [Sexy yet Passively Sexual Girl],
You're awesome, and I love spending time with you. I also love that we haven't rushed our physical relationship because getting to know you has been amazing. I'm cool doing things at your pace, but I just wanted to double check and make sure that you were as into me physically as I am into you, because you're smoking hot.

Orange Drink

I personally would much prefer this approach to any of the others given above, because it 1. does not put me on the spot and 2. does not ask me to explain why I'm acting as I am. Some of the other approaches suggested seem to be almost like interrogations, when all you really need to establish is whether she's physically attracted to you. Unless she wants to tell you about her bad relationships/abuse/issues, she shouldn't have to.
posted by Frowner at 9:42 AM on September 12, 2011 [7 favorites]

This was exactly what happened with me and my wife when we were dating. We were spending loads of time together for months, but she was very slow to let me even kiss her goodnight. We talked openly about it eventually, and I found that she had a lot of trust issues and she was still learning to trust me. So we took our time, and eventually it all worked out (we are still happily married). I just had to learn a little patience, which wasn't so hard after we talked about our expectations.

I also heartily agree that when you have this discussion it should be free of the presence of alcohol. A coffee shop is a great place to do this.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:51 AM on September 12, 2011

By the way, not wanting to continue dating someone because their timeline for getting physical doesn't match yours is completely and totally okay.
posted by griphus at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

Regardless of how y0our "talk" comes out, she will likely always be passive and uncommunicative. Be certain that is ok with you.
posted by txmon at 10:08 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

You can ask her, sure -- after a month, this level of trepidation about kissing is a bit much -- just make sure you don't phrase it in "why aren't you putting out?" terms because you never want to question someone's speed-to-physical-intimacy. This goes especially when she's admitted to being "sexually passive," whatever that means for her.

I meant to add something like this to my post above, and completely spaced on it. Seconded, thirded, et cetera'ed.
posted by no relation at 10:17 AM on September 12, 2011

"There's something I want to talk to you about. It's important, and I want to talk to you about it so that we're past it before our date on [whenever your next date is.]" This lets her know you're not breaking up with her, you just want to have a serious talk.

Then, in a neutral place (restaurant, coffee shop) without alcohol, you look her in the eye and just tell her, slowly, clearly, and specifically, what your concern is. Don't try to judge her, don't speculate about the what or the why from her end; just...state it. For instance: "We've been spending a lot of time together, and I've been having a wonderful time. You seem to be having a wonderful time, too. Yet I'm confused, because you don't seem to be physically interested in me; we kiss a little here and there, but mostly when you're drunk, and the rest of the time I feel as if you're interested in my mind, but not my body. That's how I'm feeling, and I need to know whether you're attracted to me or not, because I want and deserve to be in a relationship where the attraction is mental and physical, and one where we are able to communicate clearly about things like this."

Let it go from there.
posted by davejay at 10:20 AM on September 12, 2011

My first thought was that you had bad breath or BO when you first kissed her. Even if you've fixed that, she may assume it's still an issue. I'd make it very obvious that you're fixing it, such as popping a breath mint in front of her, or going to brush your teeth if you're at your place. Next time you call to pick her up, work "I just showered and I feel great" into the conversation (let's say you just went on a bike ride, for example).

If this is not the problem, then try Frowner's approach. And txmon has the most important point in this thread. You must assume that she will always be this way.
posted by desjardins at 10:21 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Talking about kissing is like dancing about architecture.

Different women are different, I suppose. Have seen this before -- and it resulted in a very good relationship. We did heaps together before kissing for the first time -- 3 months at least. She tested and teased, and over the course of that courtship, we came to know each other quite well. Once we became involved, we had a great foundation built on mutual interest and trust. It was really a wonderful time.

I felt similar to you in moments. I occasionally made moves and was a bit frustrated when she either slightly reciprocated or shied away. The discussion that enabled it to be fun and continue was about future expectations. Both she and I were looking for long-term relationships. We talked about what it would look like if we dated and what we were looking out of spending that time together. Once we were on the same page toward seeing if this one would make it to the alter, we both relaxed and it seemed that we had all the time in the world. There was no rush for anything, no thoughts about 'how fast is this progressing', for we were playing the long game together.

Note, the suggestion is not to chat to her about marriage to get her kissing, but rather to think about what you are looking for out of this relationship and how long you want to wait. Perhaps she is looking for someone who will stick around and form an emotional bond first and nookie it up later. Is that what you are looking for?

It sounds like she's interested in you for sure. I don't see why she would continue to hanging out with you as you describe if there isn't some attraction. Thus, sort out wether she's worth waiting for or not.
posted by nickrussell at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree: Talk to her.
Between the lines, though, I get the feeling she likes your company but is not physically attracted to you, and if she isn't by now, she may never be. Even if she doesn't want to rush it, which is certainly her right, I think you'd sense it if she were attracted to you.
But yes, talk to her; give her the chance to be candid.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just to give you some perspective, this is what I'd be thinking if I were the girl:

"Since then, we've been seeing each other, but she's not been very receptive to my attempts to kiss her, but continues to text/email me all day."

This guy is a super great companion and I like him a lot. I love all the attention he gives me. It's great to have someone to talk to that thinks I am attractive. I'm not sure if I'm attracted to him, but I want to keep talking to him and see. Maybe it will develop for me because I really want to like him.

"On Friday, we go out, I give her a gift, she's super flirty, and I'm putting my arm around her and she's putting her face in my neck, but then at the end of the night she doesn't let me kiss her, and turns down the invitation to have a good night drink at my house."

It's fun hanging out and flirting, but I'm not super into it yet. That, or I'm having sex with someone else. (Like I said, this is just me!)

OP, you seem pretty passive, as well. You "accidentally" got drunk at a bar? Come on now. Also, the fact that you're having super long, aimless? dates implies to me that you're not really shaping the relationship how you'd like it. As a rule, I like men who are assertive and a teeny bit forceful about what they want. I'm not saying disturbingly aggressive or anything like that, but, you know, EXCITING. That's what makes me want to stick around. Maybe she really does just have trust issues and wants to take it slow, though. Maybe she is not at all like me. Just some food for thought, though.
posted by amodelcitizen at 10:51 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think she's put "passive" in her profile as a talking point. Just ask her to explain that over dinner. People love to talk about their profiles.
posted by bhnyc at 11:12 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't necessarily think it has anything to do with bad breath or body odor. You can confirm that by making sure you've showered, brushed your teeth, and perhaps even have some breath mints on you at all times using them frequently but not too obviously. If you know you're smelling good then you know it has nothing to do with that. The fact that she puts being sexually passive in her profile is definitely something to think about. You have a couple of options here. You can talk to her about it in a casual way and ask her straight up. But by doing so you risk killing the "sexual tension" as well as making things awkward. I would actually suggest that you first continue to make advances. If you're being shy about it all, this will not work for a girl like this. You need to be the man and make the strong dominant moves. That DOESN'T mean to push her into doing something she doesn't want to do, but it means you need to make sure she knows you want her physically and are willing to take the lead. If that doesn't work, I would assume she's just not interested in you. But once you make a more powerful attempt, I would then say it's fine to have a "talk" with her if you're still interested in pursuing things.
posted by ljs30 at 3:35 PM on September 12, 2011

Honeylips, we seem to get along great; I like being with you, but I wonder about something. You don't seem to like kissing and making out? Is there something wrong? Cause I find you very attractive.

pro tip: don't actually call her honeylips, unless it's actually her name, in which case I want to meet her parents.
posted by theora55 at 4:20 PM on September 12, 2011

Thanks everyone for your input. Good to know I'm not crazy.

Unfortunately, the lady canceled on me due to work (could be a lie, but I don't think so), so I won't really have resolution until later on this week. I'll update here if I learn anything useful to the future generations on this completely unsearchable question.
posted by OrangeDrink at 8:33 PM on September 12, 2011

I vote for email. She may not want to be put on the spot.

But really, at this point if she's ducking a good night kiss, I don't think this is going to happen for you.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:40 PM on September 12, 2011

This thread makes it all seem so simple, as though she's attracted or not attracted (answer behind Door #2).

The thing is, this may well be not about you, or mostly not. She has specifically mentioned that she's passive. There is Something there, something mostly about her, but what?

And given that there's something mostly about her there, what is this conversation you want to have? Given that (a) there is likely something mostly about her, and (b) she is not yet ready to take that physical step with you or she already would have, then what can you accomplish in a conversation that would be good for both of you? Are you offering to listen to what's up with her? 

To illustrate with one high-stakes example, if she has a history of rape or abuse, and your bottom line in this conversation is "I need us to start making out ASAP or this isn't worth it to me," then you just add to her experience of guys caring about sex more than they care about her feelings, and fuck that hypothetical guy; it would've been better if he had just started to fade away. 

Now, if that guy's bottom line was "I'm completely willing to go with your timetable; I just want to know that you're attracted to me since I've gotten some mixed signals, and I need to know that there's the possibility of us having that closeness in the future," well then, that's solved with the exchange of a little "oh yes I think U R hot" and "yes, eventually." 

You should think through all the possibilities of what "passive" could mean: concerns about pregnancy and STDs; a history of abuse, rape, or abortion; an STD or other medical condition (say, something that makes sex painful); baggage* about good girls vs. sluts or pre-marital sin; dating guide myths* (the Rules and "men like the chase" and cows/milk); a particular sexual preference; low libido due to anti-depressants or for some totally unknown reason; or some even more mysterious thing where she really likes you but still happens to feel physically guarded. 

* I have unfortunately seen these things become head trips for otherwise totally free-spirited women

Then, I'd be prepared for a variety of conversational situations, particularly "I don't know but I just don't feel comfortable yet" and a more knowing "we need to be closer before I could open up in that way." You might emphasize not wanting to rush her, being ready to non-judgmentally hear anything, and also not needing her to tell you yet if there's something to tell that she's not ready to disclose. That is, if all that is true and if a relationship with her would make it worth it to you. If the truth is that you just want someone who is lusty and ready to act on it now, well, you might think about whether you already have your answer.
posted by salvia at 10:23 PM on September 12, 2011

Look, after a month, it doesn't matter what the reason is. Don't throw more time at this failed project. It clear she doesn't know what she wants herself, and you can't help her with that.

Besides, sounds like she is sucking all the fun out of the dates, and you aren't even in a relationship yet!

Relationships: If it's not great, it's not good.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:24 AM on September 13, 2011

Any update?
posted by JimmyJames at 12:32 PM on November 30, 2011

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