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November 8, 2012 12:22 PM   Subscribe

I'm wondering if I should keep emailing someone I've only met once and won't see again for six months.

Hi, I'm an overthinking female. I wrote to a guy on OKC about 5 months ago and we've been exchanging emails since then (all offline - neither of us is on it now.) Honestly my intention was not that romantic, but he seemed like someone I'd get along well with. We are both in our 40s, we live about an hour away from each other, but are both really independent and such heavy travelers that we've only been able to meet in person a single time, after three months of emailing. Until then I admit I wasn't very consistent about writing, only because I didn't want to get too far along online without meeting. It was an unremarkable first date: pleasant and a bit awkward, but nothing sparky. We spent an afternoon at a museum and then made dinner at my place. My guess is neither of us is exactly each other's type - and I wasn't that attracted to him physically, but to my own surprise I started to put it together that we had some important and rare things in common, and definitely wanted to get to know him more. We write every couple of weeks, mostly platonic stories of our adventures, nothing inappropriately intimate - though it seems we're both interested in each other. I like him a lot as a human being. I also like that we're both of the dating temperament to just hang out and see if we like each other, without any intense romantic expectations.

After we met, he left for another state for two months. We tried and were almost able to meetup there - I was traveling nearby for business - but couldn't quite work it out. I made more of an effort to meet than he did, but we also miscommunicated and he said he was sorry and appreciated my effort. But it stung a little. After that I backed off on my emailing again because I realized I was in fact developing an attachment to him but that I barely knew him at all in real life, and lord knows I'm already pretty good at projecting. I wrote and explained that to him, that I wanted to stay in his life but didn't think it was wise to write so much until we had a chance to spend more time in person first. I let him know I was open to him contacting me when he got back into town. (I should mention that one thing we have in common is our hatred for cell phones, so we've also only even spoken one time.) I have wondered if he is one of those superreserved types that believes they've got to know a ton about you before meeting and doesn't get how risky it is to carry on this way, and instead is interpreting my sporadic contact as me being flakey or uninterested. He sent a few more nice emails and I had little heart pangs but felt a bit irritated. I was tempted to keep going along writing, but decided to go with a short note - "great to hear from you, looking forward to seeing you when you get back, btw my work schedule has changed and I'll be out of town on XX dates."

Still with me? Turns out "XX dates" fell exactly within a small window of a few days he was going to be back - just long enough to pack and head out of state again - for the winter. This isn't a surprise, he told me this months ago. He has just written saying, "sorry, I know six months is a long time, but I'm willing to keep emailing if you are."

I like him, but I feel like I am wasting my time at this point. Because (pick one): he's just not that into you / he's not available / plenty of fish (but fewer after 40, trust me!) / bad idea to go that long without relating in person / etc. I don't get the sense at all that he's playing me, more likely that he is ambivalent, shy, or even intimidated (I've got a few degrees, he is awesome without them). Should I confess I've got some Feelings? What would that accomplish? I don't think we have enough history to call it a relationship, ask if we're dating, or propose trying to visit each other. Should I keep in touch but try to keep it platonic? I don't know if it's possible for me to dial it back now. Part of me thinks the type of attraction I'm feeling might be the slow-burn, seriously-good-match kind, and that it would be a shame to not give that a chance. But who the hell knows - this is based only on one afternoon together and bunch of emails.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Just let it go.

If he was all that interested he'd have made a meeting happen.

Do not confess anything, you're not dating, don't keep in touch.

Concentrate on meeting guys who are geographically desirable and available, in the truest sense of the word.

Write him an email that says, "It was nice to hear from you, but based upon the fact that our lives are so busy and we're not really able to meet up with any regularity, it's probably best that we go our own ways."

You have way too much invested in this fluff of a thing to string yourself along with an email every 6 months.

Break it off, and move on.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:29 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, you're talking about a guy who is essentially unavailable, regardless of the reason. There are almost certainly better ways to focus your attention and energy.
posted by OmieWise at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2012

If there was a chance this could be a friendship and not a romantic thing and you were both cool with that, then I'd say fine, stay in contact. But you're developing feelings for someone who is not available and, even when he comes back to visit, what then? It's causing your pain to continue talking to him when he's so clearly unavailable, so I say that you should probably end things.

You've fallen for the word on the page, but the guy doesn't really match it. Happens a lot. Let it go.
posted by inturnaround at 12:41 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]

He might believe that you aren't interested.

From this possible perspective, you contacted him through OKC but you weren't romantically interested. The first date was awkward and you weren't physically attracted to him. So the two of you are just sending emails, because you also don't like talking on the phone and you aren't physically nearby. Then you send an email out of the blue basically asking him to not email you until there's more face-time. He continues to email, but you are irritated. Then he makes a plan to see you before a long trip, and you are not in town.

If you think it's possible that he's feeling this way, you could just clear things up. He's out of state for the winter, so... why not make a plan to visit wherever that is, expressly to see him? With the traveling you do, surely you have some frequent flier miles stored up?
posted by Houstonian at 12:47 PM on November 8, 2012

Dial it back. This can be accomplished by intentionally taking your time when you email him.

I say this because:

- you're building him up in your head
- your sole meeting was a sort-of date that had no spark to it
- you're not all that attracted to him physically and you're thinking probably he feels the same about you
- factors including your respective schedules and the distances between you (and whatever is or isn't going on on his end) mean that it is such a Herculean effort to get the two of you in the same room that you've only actually been in each other's presence once in the five months you've known each other despite only living an hour apart
- your respective unavailabilities don't seem like they're going to change after the six months pass, so it's not really going to get any easier to meet up after that, and by the way
- six months! think about this. it'll be, what, May 2013 before you can see him again, which is a lot to base off of an afternoon and some emails.

Honestly, what I think is that his unavailability and the feeling that you're not sure he's into you are making you more interested than you probably would be otherwise. One of those things where you want what you can't have. If he lived closer and you saw him more often, I feel like it'd be less compelling, you'd see the lack of spark and physical chemistry, etc.

You are wasting your time at this point. Walk away.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:48 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

Let it go. I don't see anything worth waiting around for here.
posted by Fig at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2012

Ok, but are you actually reserving yourself for him and only him right now? If so, then I agree with the other comments and you should probably not hang on to this.

But if you are still actively looking for another connection with someone you can see in person, then what is the problem with continuing to write him? He's someone you do actually like, and replying to email isn't all that time consuming.

The important thing here is being able to keep it in perspective. If that becomes too challenging, then, yeah, let him go.
posted by Brody's chum at 2:19 PM on November 8, 2012

I apologize for sidebar , but...

1) "Doesn't like cell phones"
2) Very seldom available
3) Plans change
4) You have never been to his place.

Are you sure he is not married / in a committed relationship?
It sure seems likely.

best regards
posted by jcworth at 2:28 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're developing feelings and he's unavailable - time to stop. He's an hour away, and there are landlines, yet you two don't see each other or talk.
That said, if you want to keep it up, you should see if something is really there - you can certainly talk on the phone, landlines if need be (or a cell from your house that's just acting as a glorified cordless phone, to save on long distance), and you should be planning to see each other.
You need to get out of limbo here - either done or moving towards something.
posted by mrs. taters at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2012

Sounds like this dude is more of an online pen pal than possible relationship material. If you can leave it at "pen pal I'm not likely to see much," I think you'd be fine. But Too Busy For A Relationship Guy is not worth trying to have a relationship with.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:31 PM on November 8, 2012

I agree with everyone else that this guy is likely not that into you, emotionally unavailable, physically unavailable, etc. And jcworth makes a good point that he may be married.

HOWEVER: there's always the chance that we're wrong. Is there any way you guys can see each other even though he'll be out of state? If he's willing and able to go on another date, do it and see what happens. If it goes well, I would be expecting to see some effort on his part to make date #3 happen. If you don't see that effort at that point, move on.

And if date #2 can't even happen, that is, if he's unable to see you at all for the next SIX MONTHS, I would say it's probably not worth continuing to e-mail unless you trust yourself to (a) not get attached to this guy, and (b) really make an effort to meet other guys who are available to see you.
posted by whitelily at 8:27 PM on November 8, 2012

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