Foolish Comment Ruins Chance With Amazing Woman
March 31, 2013 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I recently met an amazing, smart woman. On our third date, I made a stupid comment that offended her. I made it worse by trying to cover myself. I really want to salvage this situation and see this woman again.

Sorry, long story. I am a male in my mid 30s. I recently met an amazing woman and over the space of 5 days, we had 3 incredible dates. I could write volumes on her virtues and my desire to see her again. To be clear, while it seems that I am acting desperately, I usually have no problems dating and my personal and social skills are usually good. This woman is properly special.

On our third date, she came to my place. I was in the midst of packing my house to move and it was in a chaotic state. I was greeted with a kiss and an embrace. I made her a late breakfast and coffee and we chatted and fooled around a little for about an hour. Then, in a rush of reckless passion, I foolishly said "Crazy idea, just putting it out there, if you want, we could get a hotel over the weekend. I bet we could get a really good deal this weekend". Obviously she said no and I made things worse by saying something like "Thats cool. That was a test". I could see myself saying these things in an out-of-body kind of way but even though I know it was a supremely idiotic thing to say, I couldn't stop myself. The date continued for about 5 more hours in exactly the same vein as it had before the comment such that I thought that we had moved on from this faux pas. We fooled around a little, talked about deep ideas and future activities. I had all indications that things were rosy.

Before she left, I said that I would give her space and not make first contact. I know that I was coming on strongly and I didn't want to scare her aware. She said that she didn't want me to scare her away either and once I had her, she'd be completely mine. Again, a strong indication that all was well.

She called me the next day. I was having lunch with a friend and we had a quick banter and I said I'd call her back. I did about an hour later, but no answer and I left no message. I called again about 3 hours later and left a message and got an SMS shortly afterwards explaining that she was on the phone to a friend and that she'd be a while but would call me back.

So yesterday, she calls back and we have a chat for about 10 minutes about all sorts of things. After this normal conversation she says "Hey, I don't think this is going to work. I can't say how deeply offended I was by your hotel comment yesterday. I don't think that it was a test and that is a really shitty thing to so". I agreed as it was. I apologised and said that even as I was saying it I knew it was the wrong thing. I was in complete shock as I had no indication that this was going to happen. I then said that I was really disappointed in myself and sad that she felt that way. I said that I really liked her, wished her good luck and that she should get in touch if she changed her mind.

I've had the stuffing completely knocked out of me. I am in shock, so I write down a list of things that I am thinking and try and get on with the stuff I need to do. But I keep stewing on it and I felt it was important that I told her that I thought she was not the kind of person to treat that way (in fact, who is? - another error!) and that I hoped that we had spent enough time together for her to know that I am not the kind of person to take advantage of others. I tried to explain that due to recent events in my life, I am struggling with appropriate immediacy for fear of losing an excellent opportunity and inappropriate recklessness. About 45 minutes after the original call, I called her back and left her a message telling her all of this and added that I probably shouldn't be calling her, but I was deeply sorry and that wouldn't contact her again.

The hotel comment was out of character and inappropriate, I get that. My feeble attempt to cover it up made it worse. My final call made things even worse still. The mere fact that she was offended by my comment actually makes me respect her more. I actually want to be with someone with those kind of morals, not the ones I asked for.

There is something really special about this woman and I felt a depth of feeling I have never felt before. Except for the silly remark, I thought, based on her actions, she felt the same way. I honestly feel that she is worth working really hard for. I am a romantic person, so if there is some gesture or action that I can take, I don't think it would be inauthentic. I realise I messed up and I am willing to risk my pride and ego to do whatever it takes. Being authentic and honest is really important to me. Even if this doesn't work out, I like her to know that I understand why she has rejected me and that I think that she is right to have done so.

If I am uncomfortably immodest for a moment, I have had no troubles finding and dating attractive women. I have met a few recently, but I really like this one. And I want a second chance.

Can I save this? On the slim chance that I can, how do I save this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (55 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
My two cents: I think the problem won't be argued away, no matter how much you try. She had a visceral negative reaction - i.e. not intellectual. I think you have to let it go (trying too hard now will seem desperate). She has a bad taste in her mouth. You have to give her some time for that taste to go away. She might go on some dates and they might be underwhelming and she'll remember how much she was enjoying your company. She might put the comment in perspective. Then you'll call or text or email her and she'll be happy to hear from you. But right now is too soon.
posted by malhouse at 5:22 PM on March 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can you save this? Nope! Learn to laugh about it, take it as a lesson learned. You fucked up! Welcome! Come on in! We have beer...

Eddie Murphy used to do a bit about asking to sleep with someone seconds after meeting them. "Nine times out of ten, you get your face slapped. But that one time, it's beautiful, it's magic." Well, you're in that group of nine.

Look, try not to do it again. And don't hide behind a lame "test" joke. Own your mistakes and find better jokes. "Yeah, maybe the hotel thing is a bit sudden. I mean, I haven't even looked at your tax returns and motor-vehicle reports yet."

But laugh. You know how they say you'll look back on this and laugh? There's a reason it's a cliche. I GUARANTEE you that you will laugh about this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


I would wait two solid weeks before contacting her again. If she initiates, great. If not, then I would call her up and ask her if she wouldn't mind meeting for coffee somewhere to chat. I would then explain, briefly and in a non self-deprecating way, that the comment was totally out of character. This made you panic and turned into a lame attempt to clear it away, which obviously only made things more awkward. That you respect her for saying no and are glad that she did, because that's what you are looking for.

I wouldn't take more than a few minutes explaining these things, and I would be prepared to change the subject to a light-hearted conversation for the rest of the coffee date.

If she still isn't interested, I would accept defeat.
posted by corn_bread at 5:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's not an excellent opportunity that is "worth working really hard for". She's a person who made up her mind that she doesn't want to be with you. Her mind is not yours to change. Them's the breaks. Get over it. It's over.
posted by january at 5:28 PM on March 31, 2013 [77 favorites]


Sorry, but there's not a whole lot of options past 'apologize and move on'. Honestly though, that comment is pretty benign. It's her prerogative to take offense, but I'd just chalk this one up to 'incompatible' and move on.
posted by wrok at 5:28 PM on March 31, 2013 [22 favorites]


The mere fact that she was offended by my comment actually makes me respect her more. I actually want to be with someone with those kind of morals, not the ones I asked for.

So then it was a test? Personally, I would find that much creepier/more offensive that the original comment. I see a bit of putting her up on a pedestal here - both in your initial description and in the whole respecting her more now, and many women are pretty sensitive to that early in a relationship.

Anyway, I think you could try one more time - let her know how sorry you are, and leave the ball in her court. But after that, you have to let it go.
posted by lunasol at 5:28 PM on March 31, 2013 [29 favorites]


I actually want to be with someone with those kind of morals, not the ones I asked for.

Tell her that. Can you save it? Who knows? But I think this is your only chance.

On the other hand, if she rejects it, don't beat yourself up too badly. If she really thinks a little-too-early invitation to hook up is beyond the pale -- she could have politely declined -- she may not be as compatible as you think.
posted by LonnieK at 5:30 PM on March 31, 2013


Generally, one mistake isn't enough to turn someone off entirely. I don't think she suddenly turned around her entire opinion of you with that one comment, I think she realized you were way more into her than she was into you, and is letting you down because of an easy out.
posted by xingcat at 5:31 PM on March 31, 2013 [67 favorites]


I called her back and left her a message telling her all of this and added that I probably shouldn't be calling her, but I was deeply sorry and that wouldn't contact her again.

You need to honor the promise you made to her, and not contact her again. She knows how you feel; you explained that already.

To continue to pursue her after she's made her position clear is to send a message that you know her mind better than she does. I really, really dislike it when men I've turned down or broken up with persist in trying to convince me to change my mind. One final shot, OK; but beyond that, it is boundary-busting.
posted by nacho fries at 5:32 PM on March 31, 2013 [45 favorites]


What the what? For one thing, I'm not understanding her taking offense, given that she was happy to come to your house and "mess around," which I am presuming means something on the order of sexytimes? (correct me if I'm wrong.)

I don't understand what is the test? Good women don't have sex in hotels? Or on the third or fourth date? But messing around in houses is okay?

Either way you're like 5000 times too keyed up now. Did you see Swingers ever? Remember the scene where the guy calls that girl from the bar 50 times getting increasingly insane? This is you.

It is all too boggling, let it die.
posted by like_a_friend at 5:33 PM on March 31, 2013 [77 favorites]


Was she offended because you were suggesting having sex? Are both religious or something, or part of a social group where you would not normally sleep with each other in the first few dates, or perhaps even before marriage? Assuming that this is the case, then I don't think there's anything you can do. She dumped you. You know why, she knows why, she knows you know why. Tough luck, maybe work on not doing or saying things that go completely against your moral code in the future. I cannot think of a single way to convince her that you 'didn't mean it'.
posted by jacalata at 5:36 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you're fooling around and you're suggesting a hotel room, you're not doing it wrong. You're just saying you are ready for the next step and don't have the appropriate resources where you are.

Personally, I think it's your neurotic and needy CYA and subsequent response that is turning her off more than your in-the-circumstances benign suggestion. You need to stop beating yourself up over a pretty small slip and start figuring out why you reacted so obsessively to it.
posted by dhartung at 5:37 PM on March 31, 2013 [27 favorites]


Even if this doesn't work out, I like her to know that I understand why she has rejected me and that I think that she is right to have done so.

IMO, further contact is not the thing that will make this point.

Xingcat's read rings true for me. And like like_a_friend, I am not sure what the giant moral issue is here. Do you believe that only a lesser woman would have sex in a hotel after 3 dates? I consider myself fairly prim, but if I were deeply interested in a man I would not dump him for a suggestion like this, though I might tell him it was too soon.

If you truly agreed completely with her assessment and shared her moral code, you would have apologized before she brought it up.

I have a feeling, and I mean this kindly, that you are not quite yourself right now, and are still reeling from the rejection. Rejection sucks, and we do all kinds of things to try to shield ourselves from the pain. Give yourself some time.
posted by bunderful at 5:40 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Personally I can see why she was offended; suggesting that a hotel rendezvous would be a good idea because it would be cheap to get a room is pretty gauche to begin with, not because getting a hotel to have sex is gauche, but because you suggested a CHEAP hotel options. Then I'd imagine the whole "this is a test" bit probably came off as both neurotic and hyper judgmental. I don't blame her for taking some time to ascertain what skeeved her out about you. You've got some weird, inappropriately developed ideas about dating, and I think this is your painful wakeup call. Reevaluate yourself and your approach before trying again. You need to miss out on this lady for now.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:43 PM on March 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


Personally, I find your "foolish" comment completely inoffensive and actually sort of endearing.

That doesn't mean she's wrong to have her own opinion, but you shouldn't date someone you need to walk on eggshells around.
posted by lalex at 5:51 PM on March 31, 2013 [32 favorites]


I'm also confused as to which part she was offended by. Personally I don't think I'd be offended by the hotel suggestion, unless I'm missing something in your question, but I would be really offended by the "test" thing. Or maybe offended is the wrong word, just that any guy who would think of saying something as a test in a relationship, even if it was just a joke, the fact that his mind could work that way would indicate we were really not compatible. (Also the "I said that I would give her space and not make first contact" thing as she was leaving would strike me as odd, I think, added to the test thing. It may have been cumulative, not just one thing you said.)

So, if she was truly upset about the hotel thing itself, and only that, I think you could wait several weeks, and then contact her ONCE, in a really no-pressure way like email, and explain that you respect her and you're sorry and would like to see her again. (With no sex, or no hotels, or whatever it was about it that was so awful.) Normally I'd say don't contact her, since she basically broke up with you. But if your only mistake as she sees it was moving too fast, there's a possibility you could fix that. If it was the test comment that did it, let it go. I don't think you can come back from that one.

On preview, These Birds has a good point if you meant a cheap hotel. I read it as a good deal on a nice hotel because it would be spontaneous. If you were suggesting you go to some trashy motel, then yeah, also let it go...
posted by DestinationUnknown at 5:52 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I honestly feel that she is worth working really hard for.

Sorry, you are no longer welcome to do so.

It doesn't matter what you want her to do, and she doesn't have to justify why she doesn't want to see you anymore - it doesn't work like that, she's not obligated to be with you up until she comes up with a good enough reason not to.

You have told her you won't contact her anymore. Stop contacting her.

For you, this sucks and it stings and you did something you'll be cringing about at 3am for years and years to come. It's not the most offensive thing (to me) ever, and it's hardly as bad as the dumbest thing I've ever said, but for her it clearly set off a chain of events that led her to make the decision she did. You might have made it worse, it's hard to say, but it's done.

You will probably have to just live with your feelings for a bit. They'll fade. Try to keep busy.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:56 PM on March 31, 2013 [29 favorites]


Yeah, my take is basically what These Birds of a Feather said, but that it means that you're probably incompatible. Everyone says dumb things that could be offensive to someone, but if you're compatible and the comment is relatively benign(fwiw I thought I was missing something because I couldn't figure out what was so offensive about what you said) then it wouldn't be such an issue since you obviously like and respect this woman.

So I wouldn't beat yourself up over this, but I don't think her feelings are going to change.

Also think about it this way: you're likely to say dumb things in the future too. We all do. Will the future dumb things you say also offend this particular woman? Find someone who doesn't get offended by the stupid things you say.
posted by fromageball at 5:57 PM on March 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


To me this is the same as when women write in asking "Did I show too much interest? Was there something I could've said or not said to have made things different?"

I don't think you said anything wrong. You guys were already making out. If she was really into you, your suggestion wouldn't have put her off. She would have laughed, said not yet, or let's see or I'm not ready yet, or ... sounds great!

There were other reasons she just wasn't feeling it, and your over-enthusiastic proposal was the biggest thing she could pin it on.

But really, she's not into you. No matter how fascinating she was to you, you'd really like to date someone who is equally into you, right?
posted by Locochona at 5:57 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I believe that one should never take people seriously when they tell you the "reason" they don't want to keep dating, especially early on. The important part was when she said "Hey, I don't think this is going to work." The rest was likely window dressing. After three dates, it's not worth beanplating the whys and wherefores and what you did right or wrong. She's just not that into you. I don't think you need to learn some grand lesson about the appropriate time to suggest a hotel room, because another woman might have found your invitation not only acceptable but positively delightful. Even the cheap weekend bargain part!
posted by Wordwoman at 6:04 PM on March 31, 2013 [23 favorites]


If that remark was enough for her to dump you, it wouldn't have worked out anyway.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:04 PM on March 31, 2013 [25 favorites]


I feel like there's some context missing here, because I'm not sure why/how the hotel comment was offensive. (The test comment, though, would throw me for a loop. I'd have a hard time feeling comfortable around someone if I thought they were testing me.)

That's not the point, though; the point is that she was upset by it, and she was upset enough to break it off. There's nothing you can do, unfortunately; anything you say or do now will just be digging deeper. Either she'll forgive you on her own, or she'll write you off for good. I'd place my money on the latter.

This happens to a lot of people in the early stages of dating: one person says something harmless off the top of their head, and the other interprets it as something much worse than was intended. Instead of getting nervous about saying the right thing, keep in mind that a huge part of compatibility is being able to communicate with each other effectively.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:05 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


After your third date with this woman, she changed her mind about wanting to go on another date with you. Unfortunately, everything else is irrelevant. As noted above: To continue to pursue her after she's made her position clear is to send a message that you know her mind better than she does. As also noted above: It doesn't matter what you want her to do, and she doesn't have to justify why she doesn't want to see you anymore.

You need to let go of the what-if, but-for, and would-have-beens. You had three dates with someone who seemed great and now she doesn't want to have another date. Let it go and leave her alone. Three dates with someone you've known for five days is a flash in your life. It's a story you tell your friends over drinks. It's not something magical. Move on to the next thing.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:05 PM on March 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


Dude. Run. The only way you can save this is by not saving it. If you look back, you're doomed. Orpheus and Eurydice. I swear to God, suggesting to steal someone away for the weekend that you feel really strongly for and had three wonderful dates with is not a fucked up comment. You are awesome.

The only thing you can do is apologize for your tiny little mistake. Tell her you actually mean't what you said, and lied when you said you didn't, and follow it up with, "Later!"
posted by phaedon at 6:09 PM on March 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


To continue to pursue her after she's made her position clear is to send a message that you know her mind better than she does.

Oh, yeah, this. To clarify my comment above, in case it reads as pro-pursuing her, I don't think you should keep pursuing her. I do think you are free to apologize to her again - once - and see if she's willing to accept it. She can either ignore that, or decide to contact you. But to keep asking her out or contacting her multiple times would be even more disrespectful than whatever you did earlier.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 6:15 PM on March 31, 2013


She's not into you. Someone can forgive (and forget) a lot of dumb remarks if they're really into you.
posted by desjardins at 6:17 PM on March 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


Kind of a different take, but: do you have a pattern of idealizing women very early into dating them, and then becoming disillusioned further into the relationship?

I understand that it's exciting to meet somebody you like very much, but there's something about the tone of your post-- the intensity with which you are eager to salvage things with this woman, plus the fact that you had 3 dates in 5 days, at least one of which lasted all day (through a house move, even, if I'm reading correctly).

Obviously I'm just a stranger on the internet, and my question is not intended as a criticism. Sometimes great, stable, healthy relationships start up in a very intense way. But I have been in a few unstable, unhealthy relationships that started off this way, and after a few of them, I was able to tell, fairly early on, when I was seeing a guy who was a little bit in fantasyland about me, and about the potential relationship. Sometimes I'd get caught up in it too, but I got to a point where I could see a pattern, and then I usually took steps to end things.

Like I say, I could be way off base. But if you do feel like that might be a pattern that applies to you, you're honestly probably better off having things end now.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 6:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [16 favorites]


The mere fact that she was offended by my comment actually makes me respect her more. I actually want to be with someone with those kind of morals, not the ones I asked for.

I do not believe you. If she had accepted your invitation, I do not doubt that the outing would have taken place. And, I do not understand your comment about morals. You say you've known this person for less than a week and while I do not know what it means to "fool around" for one hour, I assume it means something beyond holding hands. (by the same token, her offense at a hotel seems pretty silly to me, depending on what "fooling around" means)

I detect that you have a confidence problem that causes you to come on too strong. The preface of "Crazy idea, just putting it out there, if you want" broadcasts a lack of self-assuredness. That probably turned her off more than the content of your suggestion. You compounded that by offering "space" before it was requested. Then, you couldn't wait three hours for her to return a voicemail, and then you kept calling some more so you could fall over yourself to apologize. These things told her "insecure clinger". That's not attractive to most women. But, the comment about "the test" was the coup de grace.

Maybe she was into before, but you've turned her off so that she is no longer into you. Since you have no trouble dating attractive women, I will sure you will land on your feet. Meeting people is easy, but keeping them around for the long haul is hard. If you don't take some of the advice in this thread to heart, you'll be back.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:27 PM on March 31, 2013 [34 favorites]


It's kinda already been said, but I'd just like to add that I've been in situations like this with people who've been supposedly put off by things along these lines when we had some kind of casual/beginnings of "a thing" pull away, and just going "alright, seeya" has lead to them showing back up later.

You may have already kept pushing too hard, but walking away and seeming like its no skin off you can be powerful.

Inversely, I've pursued confusing situations like this and had it be completely embarassing when I realized I was basically flagellating myself in front of them, and had it ruin everything.

The absolute best thing you can do now is walk away cooly, and not contact her again. Say hi in passing if you run in to her at a bar or social gathering, but don't stop to chat or anything unless she says something conversational that isn't passive.

Let it go, seem completely cool and maybe this will go somewhere. But don't build up that hope.

Basically, I think the only chance you have here is to get on with your life. It's like a lottery ticket at this point, there's nothing you can do to make yourself more likely to "win" and succeed in this situation.

I also agree that being that put off by a comment like this would be a Dealbreaker for me. People who random flip out at inane, and honestly cute comments are just fundamentally incompatible. I feel like your ability to realize this might have been clouded a bit by BonerVision™ as well. Someone who was right for you would have at least made some kind of crack about it back if they weren't ready for or didn't want to do that.
posted by emptythought at 6:28 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Then, in a rush of reckless passion, I foolishly said "Crazy idea, just putting it out there, if you want, we could get a hotel over the weekend. I bet we could get a really good deal this weekend".


Neither foolish nor reckless, imo. Your place was a mess. Things were going swimmingly, according to you (and probably her as well - she was there, after all). In 2013, three dates is well into 'let's talk about sex' territory, if you haven't already done it (according to me and I guess others). (And for me, your practicality around deals would be a plus.)

Obviously she said no and I made things worse by saying something like "Thats cool. That was a test". I could see myself saying these things in an out-of-body kind of way but even though I know it was a supremely idiotic thing to say, I couldn't stop myself.


Yeah, the 'that was a test' bit is what might have put me off, too (if anything did, and that would be doubtful after three great dates), for all the reasons said. But I can see it as a last-ditch effort to save face, after, I guess, you got your knuckles rapped. Which prompted more shock and horror-driven fumbling, which prompted more horror. I would agree with maybe reviewing your underlying beliefs about power/gender, but it's also possible it was just a clumsy one-off, and the worst possible thing came to mind because you felt the worst possible. (And think about this: she made you feel the worst possible.)

Unfortunately, there's no going back now.

Don't punish yourself forever. There are other women in the world.

On preview: there is no way would I want to date a knuckle-rapper, either.
posted by nelljie at 6:30 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not you, it's her. But if you keep thinking about this commenting thing and try to make up for it at all any time within the next 2 weeks, it'll be you, not her.

Calm down, have a drink or something. This is just a dumb little thing. For realz
posted by oceanjesse at 6:32 PM on March 31, 2013


Please, for the benefit of your future, admit to yourself that you desperately wanted to have sex with her. There's nothing wrong with that. According to what you're saying, all signs were pointing that way. When you're getting intimate with someone, it's not wrong to admit that to yourself and it's not wrong to eventually admit that to your potential partner. Just don't do it in a way that mentions cheap and then say it was just a test (which, to me, would sound really weird if someone said that to me...a test for what?!)

For whatever reason this was a dealbreaker for her. Fair enough. She felt some way about it and that's her prerogative. I don't think you can say this is typical behavior from someone in this situation, but it's what happened.

So, accept that it's over...honor your commitment to not contact her again and move on.
posted by inturnaround at 7:34 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


" The mere fact that she was offended by my comment actually makes me respect her more. I actually want to be with someone with those kind of morals, not the ones I asked for."

What does that mean? That if I slept with you on the first date, that I a slut??

I know many many happy couples that slep together right away.

The problem is you told her your suggestion was a test.

That's what is so damn offensive!

That you asked her to spend a romantic adventurous weekend with you would have been ok, whether she accepted or refused, since your gesture was genuine and inspired!

You lost the connection with her because you are the kind of man that wants someone with "those kind of morales." That attitude is sexist, judgemental and a BIG turn-off to self-actualized folks of either gender.

----

I think you self-sabotaged because deep down you know you are not ready yet for whatever commitment this relationship represented.

Good luck, move on with your life.
posted by jbenben at 7:45 PM on March 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


She dumped you. All you can do is move on. She doesn't want you.

The bigger problem, I think, is that you're telling us you feel more strongly about her than any woman before her -- and you went on three dates! Look, dude, whatever this is, it isn't about her at all.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:53 PM on March 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


After this normal conversation she says "Hey, I don't think this is going to work. I can't say how deeply offended I was by your hotel comment yesterday. I don't think that it was a test and that is a really shitty thing to so".

if that's what she really said, then that means she thinks you were sincere with your statement. the "a test" thing was a walking back of that suggestion, you were were trying to make it seem like you weren't serious about it.

i think you're well to get rid of her. like others have said, she doesn't have much to be offended about. she thinks it's shitty to suggest that you might both enjoy doing something similar to what you guys have already been doing? i can only guess what's happening, but i'd say she has some "rules" that she won't tell you about, and she expects you to read her mind. this isn't a good thing.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:56 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I once dated some guy who pulled that "I knew you weren't that kind of girl! :) I'm so glad you said no" stuff after propositioning me on our first date.

I was 19; he was 21. We were both from religious families. That's why we weren't sex-positive. What about you?

We both kinda liked being judged and trying to "be good people" to the point of never really connecting as the people we were. Actually, he was much more ready for that kind of emotional intimacy. But I never let him care for me as my real human self full of weaknesses and weirdnesses. And that's basically why we broke up.

Now, I find your "hotel" suggestion fine (depending on the tone of voice, though maybe a bit awkward if I wasn't ready to hear it), your "test" comment maybe okay if it were really jokey, but otherwise not (probably indicative of some hang-ups about sex and judgmental tendencies). The "morals" comments here also indicate hang-ups and judgment.
posted by salvia at 8:18 PM on March 31, 2013


do you have a pattern of idealizing women very early into dating them, and then becoming disillusioned further into the relationship

I would bet my next paycheck on this and/or on little relationship history. This scenario sounds like nothing so much as an expat in Eastern Europe or SE Asia.

OP, I will give you some advice for getting this woman back but it's not going to be the advice you want because it's not going to be quick 'n' easy, or involve fun and dramatic romantic gestures. You are going to have to change some serious things. There are about 50 giant waving red flags in your question. Main red flag categories:

-Rushing/fast-forwarding of the relationship (e.g. 3 dates over 5 days, you can already "write volumes on her virtues" after seeing her 3 times). It seems like something was left out because of your mention that you were going to give her space. Did she mention wanting space?

-Pressing for very inappropriately premature levels of trust ("I hoped that we had spent enough time together for her to know that I am not the kind of person to take advantage of others." No, dude. You've known her 5 days. She doesn't know jackshit about the kind of person you are.)

-Instinct to dissemble/lie when on the spot or to CYA. Here I think the instinct itself was one of the issues, not just the fact that it was a lie or it was something that offended her..

-Moral flip-flopping. And flip-flopping about what you really want in a partner, on a deep level like sexual ethics. In your mid-30s, this shouldn't change on a dime based on what the person you want at that moment is like.

-Belief in a really sexist double standard of sexual behavior between men and women.

And the last thing, which is probably the most important.

In the mainstream of the English-speaking western world, a hotel suggestion after 3 dates and "fooling around" is not something that someone would "obviously" say no to. This says to me that this woman is likely of a different culture or subculture, who would object to that, and you knew that about her before you made the suggestion.

That is where all the red flags I listed above cascade like dominoes to give her a chain of very logical conclusions. She saw you instinctively lie to cover your ass several times already before you told her you "thought she was not the kind of person to treat that way." There is no reason for her to suspend disbelief of an obvious lie when she just saw you tell several other obvious ones in quick succession. So she isn't doubting you DID, when you made the suggestion, think she was the sort of person to "treat that way," whatever that means. And you've also revealed with that statement that you do think badly of women who would accept that offer. And you DID make that offer to her. She's clearly not naive, stupid, or gullible.

To get her back, you need to really work on those things I outlined above. If anything will do it, that is what will, not showing up beneath her window with a boom box or whatever.

Don't bother her or hassle her, but just go about living your life, day to day, with total integrity. Practice instinctively telling the truth even when you are embarrassed or feel like you might lose something. Don't suggest things to people that you would think less of them for accepting (but at the same time not think less of yourself). And on the other hand don't suggest things to people that you *would* think less about yourself for participating in.

Resist the urge to change who you fundamentally are or what you fundamentally want when confronted with someone or something you really desire, which is in opposition to those things.

Don't disrespect someone by acting or talking like you really deeply know someone and can make pronouncements about their character when you have only known them a few days. Yes, it is deeply disrespectful. The only exception would be if you get into some outlier situation with someone where it really is possible to deeply know them in days, like you are soldiers in a foxhole together.

Don't press someone to give you their trust prematurely.

Full integrity. And you will not get an inch in that direction with showy gestures.

Just live your life like that and if she so happens to observe you living like that, let her. Don't go around doing it like a performance in her face.
posted by cairdeas at 8:25 PM on March 31, 2013 [65 favorites]


I'm a woman speaking from recent, similar experience. If the hotel-test thing truly offended her, you'll be best to leave her alone as so many people are suggesting. Even if she tries to overlook it and continues to go out with you, she could feel like she's not respecting her own boundaries, and I don't see a way you could fix that.

A delayed reaction like you're describing from her is perfectly understandable to me. Two weeks ago I was on a first date with someone I barely knew who was enthusiastic about me. After about four hours of intelligent conversation and some not-sexy dancing in a public place, he invited me to spend four days with him in a resort hotel. I was so surprised that I said I needed to think about it and continued the date as if nothing had happened, then gave him a formally polite goodnight.

At first I thought I should give him the benefit of the doubt due to cultural differences, but actually the cultural setting makes the invitation more offensive. (On preview I see that cairdeas brings up lots of good points about that; in my case my date comes from a culture that can believe that women of my race are "easy" and slightly stupid.) My initial confusion and disappointment morphed into some anger. Three days later, I accepted another platonic date with him, politely told him on that date that I wasn't accepting the resort invitation because I didn't know him well enough, and now he's getting the fade.

He actually seems like a nice enough guy, but I can't imagine what he could do now to make me feel romantic about him. If your date had the same (apparently delayed) reaction to your invitation/test, regardless of the "fooling around," you really, really need to respect the boundaries she's put up or you'll have even less of a future with her. Sorry.
posted by ceiba at 8:38 PM on March 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


After a third date, if someone says "this isn't working" then that should be a very clear message.

Possible lesson learned? Don't make passes or overtures if you can't handle both the acceptance or rejection of your offers with grace.
posted by 99percentfake at 8:41 PM on March 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Before she left, I said that I would give her space and not make first contact. I know that I was coming on strongly and I didn't want to scare her aware. She said that she didn't want me to scare her away either and once I had her, she'd be completely mine.

This is weird, and it reads to me like both of you were unintentionally following some kind of fantasy romance script. There is nothing to salvage here.

Even if this doesn't work out, I like her to know that I understand why she has rejected me and that I think that she is right to have done so.

The only way she'll know you understand is if you leave her alone and don't try contacting her again. Be very wary of feeling so close and connected to a person after only three dates.
posted by wondermouse at 8:55 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can you win her back? No. This is not some sort of contest, and there is no mechanism by which people are convinced to be in love, or like, and that should not be the goal.

However, you obviously feel that you badly blundered and miscommunicated, and feel badly about that. Write her a note explaining what you explained here, and tell her how sorry you are and that she deserved better, and you understand and respect her decision. And do this for the sake of doing this alone, because it will make both you and her feel better. And then leave it at that.

My two cents. I think everybody values clear communication and benefits from honest apologies, and they are valuable for their own sake.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:58 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds like you handled the later conversation well, so maybe there's a tiny bit of hope she'll change her mind. But don't reach out to her, at least not now.
posted by Dansaman at 9:00 PM on March 31, 2013


She doesn't want to date you. You're not going to argue her into wanting to date you. All you'll do is annoy and upset her.

Also, quit trying to set the record straight with her. It doesn't matter what she thinks of you.

My feeble attempt to cover it up made it worse. My final call made things even worse still.


Any further communication will make it worse still. You're done. Walk away.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:35 PM on March 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


I know that I was coming on strongly and I didn't want to scare her aware. She said that she didn't want me to scare her away either and once I had her, she'd be completely mine.

Whoa, missed this bit. Is this an actual quote? That's some seriously retro gamesmanship in itself, which I think supports cairdeas' guess that a cross-cultural dimension is present.

And if so, I think it's possible she may have contributed to framing the interaction as an old-school courtship, which may have inspired/cued some of the (yes, agree, misguided and damaging and possibly fuelled by a certain immaturity) 'chivalrous' behaviour.
posted by nelljie at 9:36 PM on March 31, 2013


wow, cairdeas nailed it. do what cairdeas suggests - it's bang-on.
posted by facetious at 9:51 PM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you had not said you would not contact her again, then a note of apology would be in order: that is, you say you're sorry, you say you are very unhappy that what you said upset her, and then you sign off. (No excuses and no "I hope you can forgive me and we can be friends.")

Since, however, you have said you would not contact her, you should keep your word. If she has any interest in seeing you again, she knows where to find you. In the meantime, you can reconsider your flirting technique, which I don't see being effective with anyone who might have a genuine romantic interest in you.
posted by La Cieca at 11:05 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I turn a guy down, and he continues to pursue me, it scares me. I worry, as I've been conditioned to by news and media and parents and friends, that he's a stalker, obsessive, or one of those off-balance guys who get totally fixated on you and then you have to change your phone number and address because they're nuts.

I'm guessing she probably already didn't like something about you or wasn't as into you as you her, and what you said was just the final nail in the coffin. It's tough. We live in a culture where women are routinely objectified by men and it's hard to suss out genuinely well intentioned guys from those horny enough to say anything and put on the charm, then just sour on you until you realize you've wasted your time.

It could also be that she's not that attracted to you anyway.
posted by discopolo at 1:47 AM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wanted to put these two statements side by side:

"Thats cool. That was a test". I could see myself saying these things in an out-of-body kind of way but even though I know it was a supremely idiotic thing to say, I couldn't stop myself.

The mere fact that she was offended by my comment actually makes me respect her more. I actually want to be with someone with those kind of morals, not the ones I asked for.

You claim your "test" remark was idiotic, and yet you go on to say that, as a test, it worked: she showed you the morals you "actually want".

Nthing cairdeas.
posted by fraula at 2:01 AM on April 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


You blew it. Chalk it up to experience and don't do that again.
posted by zaelic at 2:41 AM on April 1, 2013


"...due to recent events in my life, I am struggling with appropriate immediacy for fear of losing an excellent opportunity and inappropriate recklessness."

I'm not sure what this means but it strikes me as the most important sentence in your question. I think it would help to unpack that statement and work on that so you wouldn't have to say it again.
posted by dosterm at 6:52 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nthing cairdeas.

After five days, neither of you really knows the other. You say you were acting out of character. She has no way of knowing that, and doesn't want or need to know any more about you. She doesn't want to get to know you better. Her reasons for it don't matter at this point; she's done and you need to respect that.

This was a learning experience, and you have a valuable lesson for your next relationship with someone else.
posted by RainyJay at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2013


On a second read I think the reason I was so bewildered by your question is that it's being asked by a really, really unstable person.

What's goin' on with you, dude? Like dosterm said, above, people who have to write sentences like "I am struggling with appropriate immediacy for fear..." probably have zero business going on dates. You're suffering from tunnel vision, it's all "what can I do, what did I do, what shall I do now?" and you have lost complete sight of the woman this is all supposedly about.

Which is easy to do, you see, because you knew her for less than a week and she might as well be a stranger in the lunchroom.

Time to stop looking for distractions from whatever this upheaval is in your life, and deal with your shit.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:47 AM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll add to the chorus of people saying that your initial comment was really not that offensive, particularly because she was in your apartment fooling around.

She said that she didn't want me to scare her away either and once I had her, she'd be completely mine.

You interpreted that as a sign that all was well, I interpret that as a sign that this woman thinks it is your responsibility to prove your "worth" to her to win her devotion, and most likely has some rigid cultural definitions of the way men and women are expected to behave when dating.

It sounds like you failed her test, which might not be a bad thing. She's either just not that into you, or would be the kind of person that you have to continuously walk on eggshells around for fear of offending her.

Relax. This isn't really a case of "Foolish Comment Ruins Chance with Amazing Woman" and more "Goes on a Couple Dates with Woman who Seems Amazing Those Three Times we Hung Out, Discovers Incompatibility"
posted by inertia at 8:57 AM on April 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


The hotel comment was... inappropriate, I get that

Well, no. She just rejected you. Not sure where you're posting from, but in most of the modern Western world, even if rejected, this offer wouldn't have been "inappropriate". She just wasn't interested.

What was terrible, however, was your attempt to cover it up, and your sudden conversion to old timey morals. Now, you seem wish-washy and possibly manipulative. You wanted to get with her; that's cool. Don't try to project your bruised ego into some weird purity test. Even if those are her values, what makes you think anyone wants to jump through hoops to date you?

It's not exactly unheard of for a man to want to get physical before a woman while dating; yet relationships thrive. She didn't end it because she thought you were too foward- she may have, but if she liked you enough, she would have said no to the hotel without breaking it off.
posted by spaltavian at 9:09 AM on April 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow.
cairdeas
Totally nailed it.

Listen to cairdeas. Seriously.

Some advice that I have to add to it though, get good at rejection. By which I mean get good at being rejected without flipping out, without breaking promises (particularly good ones like the one you made to not bug her), without doing anything weaseley to get around the rejection, without asserting some right to a third chance (having already blown the second one) that you don't have, and most of all without doing anything that would disrespect her absolute right to the agency she exercised in rejecting you - period.

I say this as someone with an interest in dudes, there is nothing I find more attractive and appealing in a dude than an ability to handle rejection well. It speaks volumes about character and it demonstrates that any relationship with the dude in question would be a safe space rather than a set up for horrific bullshit.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:53 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


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