Is he or isn't he "into it"?
August 30, 2012 7:17 PM   Subscribe

He's just not that into you. How much of this is true and how can one ever really know? Scenario/question after the jump.

I was reading a recent post about managing the difference between one partner wanting to see the other all of the time and the other needing/wanting some alone time.

I thought the best answers were the ones that basically said you have to come up with a compromise that works best for you.

I tend to lean way more towards the side of wanting to see the person I'm with/dating a lot of the time, maybe upwards of five times a week.

I realize this is too much to ask in the beginning of a relationship, but I do wonder if there's any way to really tell if someone is into you or if they're just the type of person who needs their space.

I'm honestly confused by my current situation and for my part, have tried to back off, while also fearing my not initiating contact or being even remotely pushy about seeing them or my lack of expressing true disappointment when they cancel on me (which I do really feel) might come off as ME seeming indifferent.

Without giving you every scenario leading up to this, I'll share the most recent one: After blowing me off Sunday and not hearing anything until late Monday night, we talked things out Tuesday. He was extremely apologetic and I did express my disappointment. He met up with me and a friend at a bar Tuesday night, even though he has family in town staying with him. He suggested he come over the following night after he went to dinner with a friend, insinuating he'd crash at my place.

He called the next day around 3 to say he was still working out details with his friend about dinner, but regardless, would be in touch by 10. True to his word, he called at 10, but said after splitting a bottle of wine, he was too tired to come over and asked if we could hang out Friday.

While he's been with his family, I haven't heard from him at all today.

It's not that I don't believe he was tired. It's not that I think he's obligated to "check in" with me today. Given he doesn't blow me off tomorrow, it doesn't seem like a horrible scenario.

But when I told some friends about it, they were pretty emphatic that he is obviously not that into it. AKA, who wouldn't drive over when they are on their way home to basically get some and spend a night away from their family (who he has said he's not exactly enthused is in town)? As one friend put it, they would have "biked over in the snow" for someone as "awesome" as me.

I'm confused. Even right now, I can't bring myself to text and see how his day went because now it seems like I'm pushing it.

posted by patientpatient to Human Relations (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Mmm, yeah. Assuming crash at your place also means doin' it--that's not a great indicator that he's nutso over you.

I've always felt that when relationships are going right, you don't have to worry about texting/calling/emailing too much in the beginning(within non-psycho boundaries, of course). For me, it's always been I'm excited/you're excited, let's hang out! And the times I've had to push to hear from the person, it's not worked out.

So that's my two cents for you.
posted by too bad you're not me at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2012 [19 favorites]

I always work on the premise that if someone (male or female) wants to hang with me, they will make the effort when they know I have time.
In this case, with this guy and the romantic angle,I would listen to your friends:he's just not that into you.
If there's this much effort at the beginning of the relationship ? Cut your losses (sorry).
posted by Snazzy67 at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do wonder if there's any way to really tell if someone is into you or if they're just the type of person who needs their space.
You ask.

It sounds simple because it is, and maybe it's a bit awkward, but seriously, ask. I am a person who needs my space, and so is my boyfriend. We live together now, but before that, no way where we seeing each other as often as five times a week. We established really early on that we both valued our time alone, with other people, and together. It's really different strokes for different folks. I know people who expect to see their SO much more often that I do, and they are happiest dating people who also want to spend that much time together or have that much contact. And most people will be honest with you about it.

Now with this guy, is this the same guy from your last question? Because that would change my take a bit. I don't know what you mean exactly when you say he's blowing you off -- do you mean he's not following through on specific plans, or he's just not contacting you or is he breaking plans but talking to you about it (like the examples above)?

I do think your friends are blowing a bit of smoke up your butt with this whole "I woulda biked over in the snow" business. Especially if it's that guy.
posted by sm1tten at 7:35 PM on August 30, 2012

but I do wonder if there's any way to really tell if someone is into you or if they're just the type of person who needs their space.

Here's a question. Say he is "just the type of person who needs his space." What then? Are you thinking that over time, he will want to spend more time with you? Usually, that is not what happens. Usually what happens is that the person continues to want and need the same amount of space that they always have, and sometimes more, even after you enter a serious relationship, become engaged, and then married. And then you spend years and years feeling really lonely and just waiting and hoping to DO something with your partner. And feeling lonely, bored, and rejected when every weekend he would rather be out with his friends, or working on his hobbies. And every weeknight he would rather go to the gym, or he would rather spend hours gaming, or he would rather X Y Z.

What I'm trying to say is that if you are not feeling like you are getting your wants / needs for togetherness or attention right now, I think the odds are that that won't change with time even if he is "into you."
posted by cairdeas at 7:39 PM on August 30, 2012 [15 favorites]

I think for one reason or another he's not seeing long term potential in this relationship. Asking him what's up certainly gives you the best shot at figuring out what's behind his actions. But beware that the promise of continued sexy time makes saying 'I'm not that into you' exceedingly difficult. Because then you might stop having sex with him, and that's the farthest thing from positive reinforcement I can imagine.

Find someone with a closer match to your idea of good alone/together balance. Because there is no one perfect fulcrum there. People balance differently, and whatever his reason for not being around/available as much as you like/crave/expect...the end result is the same: you want more. This isn't fair to either partner. Ou feel lonely and he either feels inadequate or he's totally oblivious even after you bring it up (and doesn't understand why you're upset!).
posted by bilabial at 7:45 PM on August 30, 2012

How long have you been dating?
posted by J. Wilson at 7:49 PM on August 30, 2012

Do not confuse someone who needs space with someone who is flaky. You can tell the difference because someone who is into you but legitimately does like their alone time will still make plans and keep them. Flakiness is disrespectful, don't make excuses in your mind for it.
posted by slow graffiti at 7:52 PM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: First, thanks all for the responses, all of which have been ones to think on and truly consider.

Yes, it is this most recent guy. And by "blow off" I mean, he had plans during the day to hang out with a friend who just got back into town from being out of the country. I knew there was going to be a fair amount of "getting wasted" happening, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he didn't contact me about hanging out that night as we originally said. But then I didn't hear from him at all until 11 pm the following day.

We've had three conversations now on the "future" and most recently I asked "are you planning on ending this when you leave?", to which he replied "no".

In general, the conversations have been "let's see where this goes", etc.

It'll be a month on Sunday, so not long at all.

And while this may or may not change anything, I'd just like to throw in that we've spent a lot more time out of the bedroom than in, even given our short time together. Which in some ways could appear good or bad...
posted by patientpatient at 7:56 PM on August 30, 2012

I don't like it. Have you read that book? He's just not that into you? it's hilarious. I read it and then met my husband the next week.

Put no further effort into it, let him come to you. If he doesn't someone else who will treat you the way you want to be treated will come around. Don't settle for this if you don't like how it's going.
posted by ibakecake at 7:58 PM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

It really sucks to be involved with someone who's not in touch with their own needs and perpetually confused about how they feel and what they want, let alone caring how it affects you.

You, on the other hand, have the emotional maturity to acknowledge your own needs, name them, and understand how your needs impact others. You deserve as least as much as that.

As for this relationship, I'd say let the line slacken, don't pursue. Don't create or hold onto expectations. Hakuna matata, fill your time and concentrate on living your life.
posted by gohabsgo at 8:02 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I tend to lean way more towards the side of wanting to see the person I'm with/dating a lot of the time, maybe upwards of five times a week.

I find that this level of frequency in seeing someone is something that has to develop over time.

It'll be a month on Sunday, so not long at all.

Yeah, it usually takes longer than that, even for the types that start off all cool and end up being major clingers (in the best of ways).

Also, judging by the timeline you laid out in your last question, he's leaving the city very soon, in order to enter a program that he's undertaking with the explicit aim of leaving the country for quite a while.

Conclusion: I'd say that there's really no way to tell what he's thinking or feeling. He may not be that into you. OR he may be into you and *alarmed* that he's into you since he also wants to go abroad for an extended period, and his strengthening feelings for you would complicate those hopes and plans.

I know it's difficult, but since you've talked to him about this already, I think the best thing to do (if you really want to give this a try, and not find someone else who's planning to stay in your city for the long-term) is try to manage your own expectations and hopes. That's really not a fun project, I know. One of the greatest things about meeting someone special is indulging in all sorts of crazy dreams about your possible future together. But it sounds like you need to put a check on that -- if you want to stay with this guy.

OR, you could look for someone who IS planning on sticking around in your general vicinity. And fall crazy in love with that person.

In situations like this, I always ask myself: on the balance, is Love Interest bringing me more misery or more joy? And, based on that answer, I decide my path. There's also the notion that it's a bad sign when you feel the need to use two AskMes within one month about a guy you've only been dating for four weeks. (Please don't take that as snark -- I have loads of sympathy for you, having felt myself in your position, once or twice. But I'm finding that the best relationships feel easy right from the start.)
posted by artemisia at 8:16 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I dunno, in this case, maybe he had to do things with his family. That happens sometimes.

If you want to see him more, why don't you ask him? Don't ask him to hang out 5 times a week but maybe see if a specific time or two will work for him. The most direct way to find out if he's into you or not is to ask him to see you.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:20 PM on August 30, 2012

(And I don't mean ask him every day. More like, if you see him Friday and it goes well, ask if he'd like to have dinner Wednesday at X time, at Y restaurant, and don't ask in the interim, since you will already have a plan set up.)
posted by mlle valentine at 8:23 PM on August 30, 2012

I've always felt that when relationships are going right, you don't have to worry about texting/calling/emailing too much in the beginning(within non-psycho boundaries, of course). For me, it's always been I'm excited/you're excited, let's hang out! And the times I've had to push to hear from the person, it's not worked out.

Seconded. Either these things fall together nicely and the two people match on this level, or well... they don't.

But that said: having family in town is an entirely different situation than the usual, and he may not behaving on his normal levels of liking you there when he has to juggle relatives and he's not at the point where he'd want to mix you all together yet. I'd cut him some slack as long as he has houseguests. When they're not around, see how he acts then.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:52 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Let's just assume that he is into you. That fact alone still doesn't make his behavior acceptable since it's obviously bothering you. Why are you trying to settle for this guy? Find someone who is crazy about you and doesn't make you second guess his intentions.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:05 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yes, in general, many guys are happy to continue dating people they don't want a long-term relationship with. A guy might decide after a few dates that he actually doesn't want a relationship (is not that into you), but he won't necessarily tell you because the dates are fun and he likes the attention.

It sounds like he is happy to date you when it's convenient for him, but probably doesn't want a serious relationship with you. I'd recommend that since he flaked out on you more than once, tell him that you're not happy and make specific plans (not i'll-call-and-let-you-know-that-I-didn't-get-a-better-offer plans) for another date.

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you haven't very clearly asked for and agreed to be exclusive. The low-stress approach would be to insist on this before any more sexytimes. The high-stress approach, if you haven't agreed not to do this, would be to go looking for another guy while keeping your current guy around as well to help you feel better right now.
posted by sninctown at 9:15 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would say there is a big difference between not wanting to see someone all the time -- personally, the thought of spending 5 nights a week with a person I've only been dating a month gives me a panic attack. I HAVE OTHER STUFF TO DO -- and blowing someone off. I need a fair amount of time to myself, for my friends, for my family, but if I have made PLANS with someone, if I like them....I show up for those plans, come hell or high water.

gave him the benefit of the doubt when he didn't contact me about hanging out that night as we originally said. But then I didn't hear from him at all until 11 pm the following day.

That's not cool in my books. I wouldn't be cool with it as a friend OR a girlfriend. But I have a low tolerance for flaky.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:57 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Let the dust settle. Don't call or text him. Make plans with friends, or plan to do things on your own.

If he's truly intersted, he'll reconnect when he has time, if he's not, that's the end of it.

You aren't Kreskin, you should not be trying to read people's minds. You could ask him, "Is this just a shitty time to try and spend time with you, or are you really just not that interested in me?"

You've got a 50% chance of getting an honest answer. Either he's just being pulled in all directions right now, or he'd rather do what he's doing than spend time with you.

You may just be a fuck-buddy. No one wants to hear it, but it may be true.

Take this time to really think about what YOU want in a relationship. A guy who flakes out on me, for whatever reason, is not my idea of a good prospect. A guy who says, "I'm going to be super busy for the next three weeks and I'm not going to be able to spend as much time with you as I'd like," is worth keeping around. What you're describing, not so much.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:41 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had dated my guy significantly longer but like you wasn't sure he was that into me when he said he had an early day at work the next day and didn't come up. Thus, my AskMe. We got married a year later. We both do need alone time. I'm not saying your guy isn't flaky or that there isn't someone better for you out there, just sharing that I had doubts about his interest and then he proposed. YMMV.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:16 AM on August 31, 2012

He has you where he wants you, hanging on his every word, calling all the shots, waiting for the phone to ring.

Now you're introspecting, trying to gauge the interest level of someone who doesn't show up, as if the real problem were his interest level - the thoughts in his head - rather than the way he's actually treating you. Some people are encouraging you to ask him again so he can give you more good excuses to wait around, on the off chance that he might show up if he doesn't get any better offers. I could not disagree more with that kind of advice and I think that you should not wait to see if you're "lucky" enough to get your turn tomorrow.

The real question is why anyone would encourage you to give any credence at all to this rude behaviour. How dare he treat you like sloppy seconds! Unless he's calling you from the hospital and dialling with his nose because all his limbs are in traction, a guy who breaks dates with you doesn't get a second chance. If he takes full initiative to make it up to you, reinitiate firm plans, and show that it was an aberration, then okay, second chance. But someone would only take that kind of initiative if a genuine mishap had occurred, so, that's why it doesn't tend to happen.

tl;dr Is waiting by the phone your idea of hijinks? Then mentally unfriend this guy and only interact with guys who don't think you should be honored to wait by the phone for them.
posted by tel3path at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]

My take is that this guy is showing you who he is and where he is at regarding your relationship, and it's up to you to decide whether it's enough/want you want/makes you happy. What you have is essentially what people feared in your last question -- he's all casual and you're kind of moving towards relationship territory. What I see is you jumping through a lot of hoops, trying to figure out the "right way" to act to get this guy to be your boyfriend and trying to make rationalizations/justifications, and I see this guy pretty much ignoring that and blithely living his life.

If I were you I'd back off. You tried going with the flow and the flow, it seems, is not working out for you. What are you going to do when this guy is back in the burbs and acting this way, and actually more distant?

Also, maybe just as a future bit of advice, don't make plans to make plans. Just MAKE PLANS.
posted by sm1tten at 3:47 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: After telling me he was once again too tired to hang out, I said it's been fun, but so long.

Thanks everyone.
posted by patientpatient at 8:21 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am sorry it didn't work out. But it sounds like it was for the best and it is good that you could make the break.
posted by cairdeas at 10:28 PM on August 31, 2012

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