New relationship and bad (irrational?) feelings?
April 17, 2014 2:24 PM   Subscribe

This is such a little thing I feel ridiculous posting it, but I’m just not sure how to approach this situation (or my feelings about it) so I hope posting here might be helpful! I’ve just started a new relationship (yay!), I like the guy I’ve been seeing, I think he’s funny and caring and interesting, and in general we have fun when we’re together. The whole thing though has been making me feel pretty anxious, I have a history of unhealthy relationships. A little thing (I think) happened about two days ago and it’s set off all these bad feelings, I can’t figure out whether or not I’m being neurotic or even where to go from here. More inside.

A couple of evenings ago, I arranged to meet the guy I’ve been dating, A., at the local library at 4pm. We were going to go for a drink and then to the cinema. A. calls me just after 4pm to tell me he’s running late because he had been talking to a friend and that he’ll be there half an hour late. I was studying at the library so technically it’s fine as I have things to do, but I feel a bit put off, and tell him so when he arrives, which he apologizes for, saying he just got caught up with his friend. We hang out in the evening and it’s mostly fine, although he seems a bit distant and not particularly attentive, the conversation doesn’t really flow and I don’t feel much of a connection, which is strange. We end up going back to his flat later on in the evening, and as we are making out, he mentions this particular bra that I have and how he’d really like me to put it on. It’s really complimentary, on the one hand, on the other, it gives me a not so great feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if it’s more the bra rather than me he’s interested in, especially since I didn’t feel like he had been particularly ‘into me,’ when we were spending time at other points in the evening. The same feeling happens a little while later when he starts talking about how much he likes oral sex.

The next day, I just had this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach of being used and feeling really sad and angry about the whole thing. I came home that evening of and just cried, which a part of me things was a crazy thing to do, I don't understand why I am reacting so strongly.

Usually our hang outs are fun and I enjoy spending time together, but something struck me really strong as being very 'off' about this particular meeting...

I don’t have a history of sexual abuse although know that I have some issues with men, and lots of fears about losing my voice and my control as well as being afraid of being used. I want to deal with this in a healthy way but am not sure how to do that.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hey, I have been there. It sounds like you feel like his treatment and words communicate something on his part wherein he doesn't feel like you're enough. If you like this guy enough to want to keep seeing him, now is the time to bring this stuff up so that you can get the measure of how he handles feedback. You could even say, "Hey, the other night felt kind of weird to me. Can I talk to you about it? I got the sense that you were pretty distracted, and it felt weird when you asked me to wear a different bra. It felt like you weren't super interested in me per se. Was anything on your mind that night that I should know about?"

Hopefully he will recognize that he was off that night and that it impacted you. Trust your gut. Your needs deserve to be heard and acknowledged.
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:29 PM on April 17, 2014 [6 favorites]

From what you've written, it sounds like your anxiety is the big factor here. You're allowed to be bothered that he was late, but he apologized and I don't think it's something you should be dwelling on days later. The bra thing sounds like some bedroom fun that just happens to be hitting on your insecurities.

None of which is to say you should keep dating him if you don't feel comfortable with him. Just that from my perspective, being late and asking you to put on a sexy bra are normal things that happen in a relationship.

As to where to go from here, if you generally like the guy keep dating him. If things he does keep putting you off, it's probably a sign that you just aren't into him and that you should cut bait.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:45 PM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Everyone is entitled to have off days, I wouldn't worry about the late thing or necessarily connect it to the bra incident. The bra thing is weird though. "I really liked that bra you wore the other night, I think it's my favourite; would you wear it again for me some time?" is one thing; asking you to put it on in the middle of making out feels fetishy. Fetishes are 100% cool if all involved partners are cool with them, but as you've described it it sounds like one partner had an agenda the other partner wasn't let in on and that is icky.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:46 PM on April 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

You might have a history of abandonment issues, which his lateness & further distractedness set off. You won't connect 100% every time, some days there's more connection than others and maybe he had something on his mind. That's normal.

It's ok to 'not be in the mood' for making out, for whatever reason. It's ok to tell him how you feel & like no regrets says, see how he handles your honesty. Don't be worried about the outcome - if he handles it poorly, great! (no wasted time) and if he handles it well, great! (building relationship trust)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:48 PM on April 17, 2014

I have also been there.

One thing I've been noticing in myself lately is that I have this thing that I do. Maybe it's projection? Maybe there's some other psychobabble term for it? When I feel miffed about something my partner did, or ignored, or slighted, or not listened to, or whatever, suddenly everything about my way of seeing my relationship shifts. Suddenly EVERYTHING they do has an obvious terrible subtext. That time they said they'd be five minutes and then it was more like eight? That time they didn't want to cuddle after sex? That time they were in a bad mood and kind of short with me? OMENS. All omens. Clearly my partner hates me and is about to break up with me and there's just this feeling of wrongness in the air and it's all doomed. I get very grumpy and become unable to see any aspect of my relationship as healthy and loving and OK.

So, now that I notice that I do this, I try to take a step back. Are these things actual dealbreakers? Does my partner even know they're happening? Is there any logical connection between these events? Just because my partner was in a bad mood that one time doesn't mean my relationship is doomed.

This isn't to say you should let rudeness ride and always give your boyfriend the benefit of the doubt. Just think clearly about whether the thing you're upset about is actually being done maliciously. Or whether that level of slight actually merits the amount of weight you're putting on it. Don't break up with someone because they lost track of time talking to a friend. You know?

But, OK. Let's say these are all things that are indicative of larger issues that are truly present in your relationship. You don't say how long you've been together, but it might be worth considering whether this stuff is worth talking about and working on. It is totally OK for you to voice concerns about sex with your boyfriend, or to ask him what was up with him that night when he seemed so distant.

On the off chance that this is a new relationship that is just transitioning into an ongoing boyfriend/girlfriend thing (and maybe getting a little more serious?) I think there's a point when you realize that not everybody is their best self all the time, and the idea is to weather through the bad days and distractions and times somebody was late. Obviously you don't want a relationship that is all that stuff and never any fun, but we're all human, you know?
posted by Sara C. at 2:50 PM on April 17, 2014 [12 favorites]

I don't know, you felt disrespected in terms of time and attention, and then he went right into 'put on the thing' and 'do the thing'. I'd be annoyed too.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:51 PM on April 17, 2014 [24 favorites]

I think a lot of it depends on the tone of voice and the context. Some guys have preferences for what they want to see on a girl to get them in the mood, and a lot of guys enjoy oral sex. Those topics of conversation can be natural, run-of-the-mill stuff in a relationship, or they can be creepy and commanding.

It seems that your gut is telling you it's the latter, but you owe it to your new relationship to just check with him. Just say, "Hey, I wanted to follow up on our conversation the other night. I was a little uncomfortable when you told me to put on the bra and then the way you kept talking about oral sex. Can we clear the air about that?"

Hopefully his response will be, "Oh, I'm so sorry that was weird. I didn't mean to be pushy or commanding; I just really like you in that bra and think you look sexy in it." Or "Oh, we were in bed making out, so I just wanted to tell you what I like."

If it strays really far from him being apologetic, understanding, or caring, then that's not a good sign. He might be a little confused, but he should not display anything negative, especially if you ask him in a nice, calm way. Everyone has the right to be heard and address any feelings of discomfort in a relationship.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 2:51 PM on April 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

When you date someone long enough, you're going to have bad days with them. That's just how it goes, because nobody can be perfect every day.

In this case: If he sensed that you were mad at him for being late, and not totally accepting his apology, he was probably treading carefully and a bit on edge (and maybe even a bit embarrassed and pissed off), which would make things feel "off." Then, speaking from experience, the temptation is to think, "i know! I'll do something to make her feel extra sexy! Extra sexytimes are great for smoothing over awkwardness."

And then I'd blow it because I'm not that smooth, and extra sexytimes are hard to pull off.

Early phase relationships are hard in this way, when the ooey gooey first couple of weeks are done and people start being more themselves, but your own sensitivities are still dialed up to ELEVEN and you're analyzing everything to pieces.

Keep aware, and if these things keep happening, maybe it's not a good fit. But if I'd left my boyfriend the first time we had an evening that went a little pear-shaped, I'd have lost out on a whole lot of fun and love.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:53 PM on April 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

A lot of times, little things that would be easy to write off in isolation snowball with each other to create an almost unbearably uncomfortable time. I'm just saying this so you're not blaming yourself for over-reacting. I would have felt the same way. It's ok to feel your feelings. But it sounds like what happened was an unfortunate comedy of errors, not evidence of an incompatibility (yet).
posted by bleep at 2:56 PM on April 17, 2014

Okay, I'm speaking for me and not for you early dating days when I just got that weird little inarticulate voice in my brain/stomach that said, "I'm not happy about something here; I can't put my finger on it but something about this date/this guy feels off," that little feeling

always knew what it was saying.

Even though I couldn't articulate it at the time, that little voice knew that this guy just wasn't good for me.

And whenever I tried to ignore that feeling or talk myself out of it, weeks/months/years later down the line I kicked myself for not listening.
posted by kinetic at 2:58 PM on April 17, 2014 [49 favorites]

I wouldn't worry about him being late, necessarily; neither would I worry about the way that made you feel; these are ordinary things. But I think it's very important to pay attention to those feelings that say "I am not feeling fully connected and safe here", and give those feelings space before going into an intimate, vulnerable space with your partner.

I've learned through experience not to have sex when things feel 'off'. My partner and I are really great together, but sometimes there is something in the way, maybe someone's having a bad day, maybe we're working through issues, and perhaps we are not as tuned in and connected as we should be. If sex happens in that state it usually feels.. off.. slightly strange... not so great... same kind of words you used. Often because one of us wasn't feeling fully relaxed, but pushed ahead anyway. This was much more common early in our relationship while we were still figuring each other out.

The feeling of safety comes from knowing your boundaries will be respected. When things are flowing and you and your partner are connected, you feel like your emotional signals will be noticed and heard -- you can trust your partner not to push too far in a way that would be dangerous. It's okay to relax into the moment. But when you're on edge, even a little, and your partner doesn't pick up on it, or they start to do things and don't seem to care about whether you're into it or not, a gigantic gap can form. You weren't feeling great about the way the sex was developing, and yet it happened anyway. That's a signal that if something not so great happens again, your boundaries might not be respected and you might be seriously hurt. No wonder you feel weird and upset.

This level of communication, including expressing things like you feel non-connected and thus not comfortable escalating intimacy in that moment, is vital to a healthy partnership but takes a lot of time and trust to develop. Often it runs counter to social programming which teaches people to devalue their own needs, particularly around sex and boundaries. It can be really really hard to say "I feel a bit uncomfortable right now" in an intimate setting, especially when your partner might take it the wrong way or get upset. But it is really important that you speak up and assert these boundaries and communicate -- and it gives him the opportunity to show you that he can be tuned in and caring regarding your needs.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:42 PM on April 17, 2014 [10 favorites]

Nobody can be perfect every day.


He was late but called and then apologized. It miffed you. You said something. Then later he did something else that miffed you, but you didn't say anything. Hey, look, you're imperfect! Inconsistent! So is he. Your anxiety is really turning a mountain into a molehill.

Now, if there's a regular pattern of something, okay, fine, pay attention to it. But there isn't, according to you. So what gives? Just an off day for you? You really don't like it when he's late?

Or are you worried that his "friend" is a girl, that he considers his "friend" more important than you, possibly a threat to you, and that is what's setting off your alarms?

Something to think about, anyway.
posted by davejay at 4:07 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll just be that person, I guess.

I hate this guy for making you cry. Seriously, I hate him. I know maybe he's inexperienced with women, maybe he's clueless, maybe he's having other problems but I don't even care.

It's not okay. It's not okay that you cried over this silly little boy. Not okay that he was late and didn't care that you were upset. Not okay that he treats you like a doll or an object. Not okay!! I am so sick of guys making girls cry! So sick of hearing about it!

I really wish we were friends so I could buoy your spirits and tell this guy what-for.

He does not understand anything about anything if he acts this way. He's a small person. A small, sad, irritating person who needs to grow up. Sleeping around doesn't make a guy a bad person- liking oral sex doesn't make a guy a bad person-acting like a douche and not caring or noticing how you react makes him a bad person. Taking what he can get for himself without thinking about what that means for you makes him a douche. Not realizing that you are a person with needs and a family who loves you makes him a douche.

I just really hope he shapes up quickly or you walk. I'm sorry. You deserve to be young and happy!
posted by quincunx at 4:08 PM on April 17, 2014 [16 favorites]

Nthing everyone who said to trust your instincts.

It sounds almost like he is trying to test your boundaries. Showing up a half hour late after you had made plans for a certain time (and only apologizing after you said it made you upset?), telling you he'd really like you to wear that bra he likes, telling you how much he likes oral sex. It strikes me how he doesn't outright ask you to wear certain bra or ask you if you could give him oral, he merely suggests it. Is it so when you tell him how you feel about these things, he can shrug it off and tell you that you never had to?

It doesn't sound like he is being very respectful of you. I don't think your reaction is irrational. It can be a shock to have someone you liked and enjoyed being around suddenly start to slide into being disrespectful.

Please trust your gut. You had a pit in your stomach after this encounter and you cried later that night. You tagged this post "feeling used." In my experience and in my opinion, I don't think it's a non-issue if you have such visceral feelings about this. And, remember, it is okay to tell him you don't want to do certain things. Women are conditioned to be submissive and it's hard to believe someone you care about could be so unkind towards you, but never forget that it is okay to not want to do everything he asks/suggests of you. A partner who cares about you, as a human being and as a person, would not put his wants and needs above your sense of comfort and security in such a way.

Why don't you talk to him about how you felt about the other night? If he gets irritated with you, tries to dismiss it, or does or says anything other than "I'm so sorry I made you feel that way," I would take it as a sign that he doesn't you view as a person with rights to her own body. And if you have more nights where things feel kind of "off" in the future, please don't doubt your perceptions about it. Take it as a confirmation instead of a coincidence.

It takes a lot of courage to decide to reach out and get some opinions on things like this sometimes. I was in a relationship that took quite a nosedive once and, before that happened, had felt too silly or uncertain to reach out to friends about some similar issues. Now, I tell my friends in new relationships "if you ever feel unsure about something that happened, don't feel afraid to talk to me or someone else you trust about it." It sounds almost like something you might say to a toddler regarding pedophiles, but there are men out there who prey on women in a similar fashion, and I think they warrant a similar warning.
posted by sevenofspades at 5:27 PM on April 17, 2014 [8 favorites]

Maybe it was just a bad day. But if he keeps making you feel this way, listen to yourself.

The sex thing is not something I'd really be OK with early in a relationship. Everyone's mileage varies, but I've had much better luck in relationships where we were not so "dress this way, I like this thing," &c. That's just my personality-- other people love to zero in on those kinds of things. It's completely 100% OK for you to not enjoy the "put on the bra?" thing. I am fine with someone saying "oh god that is a sexy pair of panties" (yes, "panties" and all), but "hhhhey could you wear those panties again and go down on me?" is where I kind of draw the line. Because if someone is so comfortable asking early on, they're probably going to keep asking, and I'm going to get tired of complying/feeling the pressure as a woman to comply, thanks to society and my past. Even if I like doing those things, there are times where being asked will push the wrong buttons.

In my life I think that's a pretty big point of sexual incompatibility-- he wants things to be more performative than you're into. For me, I would think "this relationship probably isn't going to work out, we have different outlooks on sex, he probably won't feel fulfilled or else I'll feel hurt." I know people are going to say it's crazy to care so much about something that is "natural" or "natural to men" or "natural for people" but for me it's the kind of incompatibility I'm usually not interested in working through, because it means instead of having good sex I like 90% of the time with someone else like me, I have good sex maybe 50% of the time, and the other 50% think "this is good for the relationship, even though I feel like I respect myself less." Some people don't have the respect issue, they are OK with that, I'm OK with being more selfish about sex because it's important to me. I think it's OK if you're the same.
posted by stoneandstar at 5:29 PM on April 17, 2014 [9 favorites]

FWIW, I'm a guy and was completely confused by your behavior.

Look. Your new beau called to inform you he'd be late. You said it was fine but you didn't/don't really mean that - in fact, you were quite pissed by his being late - pissed to the point where you sat and thought about it for that half hour and voiced that it was not alright. He apologized. What more did/do you want him to do? Why insist it's 'fine' when it's not? And if it's not 'fine'... why? You had things to do, so it's not as though his lateness put you out or made things inconvenient. Is it because he was out with a 'friend'? Could your not being fine with it have anything to do with jealousy (ie: he was late because he was out with 'someone else'. GRR! Are you thinking another girl, perhaps?)

You mention he was distant - I would be too if I got the feeling you were still upset about my being late. I'd likely be walking on eggshells/trying not to say the wrong thing to make things worse. This would certainly make things awkward or impede any kind of 'connection'.

And since that awkwardness was never addressed it just carried through the night and into your make-out time. You got upset over his wanting you to put on a specific bra, but you mention the bra is flattering to you. You guys were heading to sexytime... Why wouldn't he want you to wear lingerie that is flattering to you? Maybe that bra is easier to take off. Maybe that color looks really good on you. Maybe that bra just fits you better. Maybe it looks good crumpled on the floor. The point I'm making is that he didn't want to just see a bra - he wanted to see it on you, because it's YOUR bra and he (presumably) thinks you look sexy in it. Case in point, I have asked my bf to wear specific underwear (that I like) before because I knew there'd be sexytimes at some point and I think they really flatter him. I have no sexual desire for the underwear themselves - I have a feeling this is the case for your guy - it's not the bra, it's YOU in the bra.

As for his talk about oral sex... you said he mentioned this a little while later (after the bra incident). Was this while you two were still making out? If so, discussions about what you each like is kind of expected. If it was after making out, maybe he felt emboldened by the make-out session (ie: we had sexytimes, you must not be mad anymore, things are OK now, right?).

I think you've got some insecurities that these events played on. You were already in a sour mood from his being late, and compiled with his excuse (ie: hanging out with a 'friend'), I think you got lost in your head about what he's doing, his intentions, and whether or not you're being used.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Don't throw away everything over an 'off' night. They happen. They'll happen again - even with the most awesome people. Don't be afraid to bring up your concerns - if his request makes you feel weird - address it right then and there. Don't stew and don't continue with sexytimes if you're feeling off - it makes for a pretty terrible time for everyone. If he asks you to put on a specific bra and that makes you feel weird ask him why he wants to see you in -that- bra. If he starts talking about oral sex - start talking about what you like. I think a common thing that occurs with people who feel used is that they accommodate those around them while making very few (if any) demands in turn. YMMV, but I notice that the 'getting used' feeling disappears for me once I assert myself and make a few of my own 'demands'. You may feel hesitant about making 'demands' or perhaps have fear that making them will result in your partner leaving you, but I urge you to get past that and be more vocal about what YOU want/need out of your partner/relationship to feel comfortable.
posted by stubbehtail at 5:30 PM on April 17, 2014 [6 favorites]

Hmm. Personally, the bra and oral sex comments would bother me, too, especially in a new relationship. It would be one thing if he said, while you're wearing the bra, "I love how you look in that," or after you've given him a blowjob, "I love oral sex." Or, if you've been with someone for a while, requesting a certain bra might not seem like that big of a deal. I also would be bothered by the lateness. Trust your instincts. I can't imagine anyone I've ever dated making those comments in that just strikes me as a little disrespectful.
posted by three_red_balloons at 5:50 PM on April 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

He sounds like a very controlling person who treats women like objects. Do you really want to be with someone who demands you wear certain clothing when you're making out? The oral sex comment is really irritating too, especially since he treated you shabbily earlier that day. He seems really out of touch with your feelings and that is the opposite of sexy.

You're not being ridiculous for being upset. Don't let him treat you badly. You are worth more than that and deserve better than this selfish jerk.
posted by parakeetdog at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, seems . . . soon for the bra thing. If it were me I'd back away.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:24 PM on April 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry to say but honestly I think he's just not that into you. But don't take it personally because based on his behavior, which I don't think is just a "little thing" you apologized for it being, it sounds like he's probably not that into anybody...except himself.
posted by Dansaman at 6:32 PM on April 17, 2014

Did he do anything horribly wrong? No, not really, but what really stuck out for me is that he didn't really seem enthusiastic about seeing you. One of my personal red flags, in the beginning of a relationship, is when I see that a guy only seems to "care" once sex begins. Every great relationship that I have ever been in has been with men who were chomping at the bit to see me. Visiting me was the highlight of their week, which they looked forward to with glee.

This person was late because he was talking to his friend. Not the end of the world, but would you be late to a date with someone you really liked because you were busy chatting away, or would you have spent the whole day waiting excitedly to see the person? The part about the bra and oral sex would also bother me as who in their right mind cares what a fabulous new person, who they are about to have shiny new sex with, is wearing? I mean to say, if you two had been together for a year and he asked this, my answer would be entirely different, but in the beginning? Come on now.

One of my biggest dating lessons, that was hard earned through pain and heartbreak, is to always eject guys that aren’t thrilled to bits about me. If they show me that they are kind of "meh," in the beginning, it rarely gets better from there.

Again, I'm not saying that he's wrong or bad, just that he doesn't seem excited about you. As in, he likes you well enough to sleep with you, but not enough to be excited about just being in your presence. It makes me wonder, if you didn't sleep with him for a few dates in a row, do you think that he would even bother to show up?
posted by Shouraku at 6:57 PM on April 17, 2014 [15 favorites]

We can analyze his actions and behavior forever and we will never really be able to pinpoint what went on in his head on this date. But that doesn't matter - what matters is that you felt something "off". It can be very helpful to listen to our guts. I suggest just taking it slow with this guy and paying attention to your gut feeling if you'd like to move forward with this relationship. Just keep listening to yourself.

My gut has never been wrong for what it's worth. I have had bad gut feelings about a lot of bad or just unsuitable men early on in all of those relationships. It's a really helpful little voice.
posted by sockermom at 7:35 PM on April 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yes, much as I can try to analyze this situation on my own, what really stands out to me is how strongly it impacted you. That instinct is worth heeding, I think.
posted by salvia at 9:41 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

The bra and the comment about oral sex sound to me like he was just communicating in a kinky way, that merely sharing these preferences and words with you turned him on. But that's just an idea - the only way to find out for sure is to ask him.

Rather than telling him your reaction to it first, though, simply ask what that was about, give him the opportunity to explain. If the explanation seems acceptable to you then you'll know you misinterpreted his motives and overreacted, and you may want to keep that to yourself and learn from it. Otherwise, by all means let him know you were uncomfortable.
posted by Dragonness at 11:09 PM on April 17, 2014

Ugh. I have beeeeen there. I think he's a jerk for making you wait, being distant and then apparel requests? Yuck.

Let me tell you what I'd do -- well, I'd put that bra on, try to make him happy, hate myself, hate him, be miserable and when it finally ended I'd wonder what went wrong and keep hating myself.

Let me tell you what I think you should do -- follow your gut. Your gut doesn't like this situation. Listen to it.
posted by mibo at 3:53 AM on April 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

It sounds to me like that night, for the first time in this relationship, there was a bit of a power struggle. His coming late and giving you a reason that wasn't a burst pipe or a big traffic jam or something otherwise unavoidable, just that he lost track? That would be something to watch, for me. For some people, lateness is completely free of negative meaning but you don't know that about him and it does bother you.

I don't know what it was exactly you said about the lateness, but it seems like he didn't respond very favorably. Rather, he was kind of switched off for the rest of the evening. All of this happens, from time to time-- in some early relationships it would be just a bump to get over, to see how you both deal with this kind of stuff. If he felt criticized it would be understandable that he switched off a bit. On the other hand, it is totally understandable that you weren't a fan of his coming late. If it turns out that he's habitually or carelessly late, you would figure out how much of it you could deal with and whether or not to bail over it, but it's a bit early for that, and for now you would just be watching it. I'd be considering, well maybe he felt criticized for the first time since he's been seeing me; he thought the lateness was harmless and for the first time he didn't feel accepted by me and that's what the "off" feeling was about. But it seems like the sex thing put it on another level because his actions were somewhat aggressive. For me, he'd be coming across as a little bit selfish right at that point. It might be that his way of dealing with conflicts and differences will not sit well with you in the long term, since he may have a pattern of being withholding and and then testing you. Maybe you don't want to jump through those kinds of hoops and that's fine! Don't beat yourself up if that's what you decide. You're doing fine.
posted by BibiRose at 6:03 AM on April 18, 2014

It sounds to me like you need to work on being able to not have sex when you don't want to, even when you're in a relationship.

The guy's behavior may or may not be fine (certainly too little here for me to weigh in with, other than to note that some people are chronically late/loose with time commitments), but proceeding with advanced sexy times that you aren't into is a sure way to mess up your head.

I don't think you can necessarily expect him (or anyone) to pick up on every cue, or to accurately assess what every cue means. But understanding when you personally would enjoy physical intimacy and when you would not is really important, so you can draw a line of comfort in the sand and refuse to cross it.

I've struggled with this myself. There is a social pressure for men to be always good to go. I'm not always good to go, damnit, but I've went ahead and gone anyway plenty of times. And plenty of times, I've felt not so great about it later.
posted by jsturgill at 9:40 AM on April 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would think of the bra comment like this: He's trying to recreate a sexy experience he had with you when you were wearing that bra, not that he only likes the bra. There's a huge difference.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:57 AM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not what he said (or didn't say.) Are there situations in which a guy can ask me to wear a bra he likes and it's totally fine and cool and great and swell and he's a nice guy and we have fun? Of course! Are there situations in which a lover can ask for oral and that's also totally fine and not a jerk thing? Duh! Are people sometimes late despite their best intentions? All the time! No big deal!

But are there douchey, self-centered guys out there who will consistently display disregard and contempt for women, especially in short term sexual relationships, and use them for whatever they can get away with? Sadly, that is a gigantic, unfortunate truth. He seems like one of them.

Relationships should not involve crying. It doesn't matter what this guy's intentions are. It doesn't matter if he's madly in love with you. It doesn't matter if he's clueless or helpless. It just doesn't matter at all. What matters is that you're crying and unhappy. It's okay for you to leave when you're crying and unhappy. It's a great idea, actually. It doesn't make you "hysterical" or a bitch.
posted by quincunx at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

The whole thing sounds pretty cold to me. I mean, it's one thing that he was late - that happens, although of course it would've been nice if he'd told you he was running that late before he was already late. After that, it seems normal that things felt awkward between you two after you told him you were upset about it. And who knows what was up with him and his friend. Maybe something happened there that was sticking in his mind?

It's the stuff that happened after that that sounds off to me. It doesn't sound like you know each other very well yet, so for him to be telling you which bra to wear and for him to be talking about much he "likes oral sex" is at best tactless, and at worse an attempt for him to use you sexually as much as he can before one of you inevitably breaks it off. I'm wondering if you've heard anything from him since that night.
posted by wondermouse at 12:10 PM on April 18, 2014

He is using you. Just reading your post makes me cringe. Drop his as*. You deserve better.
posted by jbean at 2:31 PM on April 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, just have to add one more thing:

It's a waste of time figuring out what's going on in his head. Probably nothing. Maybe a lot of white noise. Maybe a lot of complex emotions. Maybe tortuous lovesick agonies. (Kinda doubt it, though). But it is profoundly uninteresting and coincidentally profoundly unknowable.

A guy you're seeing should make you happy. Relationships should make you happy. What he's thinking, his "personality" his issues- yawn! Who cares! Not your problem! He's not that unique anyway! Basically totally irrelevant!

Your emotions matter, and his actions matter. His excuses, his reasons, his special snowflake cluelessness? Doesn't matter that much. Ultimately really just doesn't. Not in the end. That's his business to sort out. You are not there to help him decide if he likes you, for goodness sakes.
posted by quincunx at 5:48 PM on April 18, 2014

Literally listen to your gut.
posted by bleep at 8:48 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

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