Is this guy interested in dating or just hooking up?
February 3, 2015 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I met this 20-something guy through a mutual friend at a party and we've been texting each other for the past week. He insisted that we should go out drinking sometimes. When I talked to the mutual friend about him, she said that he thinks I'm cute, but she also mentioned that he admitted he had slept with at least 6 girls, of which only 1 was a serious girlfriend. Is there a good odd that he's only into me for sex? How can I tell? I'm at the point in my life where I want a serious relationship, and I'm not sure if I should give this guy a chance. Thanks for your help!
posted by missybitsy to Human Relations (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

How can I tell?

You ask him. After you've been out for a date/drink and confirmed your feelings perhaps, but before you sleep with him. The only way is to ask him. If you try and 'work it out' or ask people who know neither you, the full story, nor him you're just wasting everyone's time.

Ask him.
posted by Brockles at 4:57 PM on February 3, 2015 [25 favorites]

None of us have anywhere near enough information to answer that. Talk to him.
posted by adamrice at 4:57 PM on February 3, 2015

The easiest way to find out would be to go out with him and not sleep with him for a while. Make a point of telling him you want to take it slow. His behavior after that will tell you everything you need to know.
posted by Andrhia at 4:57 PM on February 3, 2015 [28 favorites]

Go on a date, and if it seems like it's getting physical, mention that you're really only into things getting physical if it's going to be an ongoing dating situation. To the best of your abilities, judge his reaction and what he says. If he walks away, fine. If you go on a few more dates and have a good time, you can decide if you want it to go further, physically or emotionally or where ever else your commitment limits are.

Also worth noting, that depending on your age/preferences/religion/whatever, some people only consider a serious relationship after they have had sex, or at least some level of physical intimacy.
posted by mikeh at 4:59 PM on February 3, 2015

This isn't an answerable question. You should be an adult and ask him what he's looking for, and then, assuming he says he wants a relationship, be cognizant of any behaviors that seem to contradict that.

But I do feel the need to say one thing:

...but she also mentioned that he admitted he had slept with at least 6 girls, of which only 1 was a serious girlfriend.

So what? Six is a very low "number" in my opinion, and on top of that he's been in serious relationships with over 16% (1 in 6) of the women (not "girls"...) with whom he's had sex. Plus, even people who once enjoyed loads of casual sex wake up sometimes and decide they do want a serious, monogamous relationship. There seems to me to be almost no direct correlation between number of past sexual partners and desire for a serious relationship.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:04 PM on February 3, 2015 [21 favorites]

People who have casual sex are not necessarily only interested in casual sex. If that's what he's after here, no problem, just file under 'not a match'.

The problem would be if he tried to mislead you about what he wants. But nobody can tell if that's likely to happen based on what you've said here. If you like him, be upfront about what you want and take it slow. There's no way to ensure you won't get played, but if you're direct about what you want and still get played, you'll have the comfort of knowing you were the honest, good person.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 5:04 PM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

You're going to have to tell him what you want. Novel! I know!

So when that texting adds up to a date, when you first sit down with him, tell him about yourself, "I'm really interested in dating and in finding out about you. I'm not interested in hook ups. So, what's your story?"

You can't mind-fuck texts or phrases, or what other people think of a person. You're going to have to put yourself out there. It will save you ENDLESS hours of fuckwittery.

This really is the only way. And what if he runs hard an fast in the other direction? Well, there's your answer. If he doesn't. Hey!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2015 [9 favorites]

I respectfully disagree with everyone who says that taking it slowly, and telling him you want to take it slowly, will tell you whether he is interested in a relationship or only a hookup. Men who are interested only in a hookup are willing to wait as long as it takes. To be perfectly frank, the only way to tell whether he's interested in you for sure and certain is to have sex with him and see if he ever contacts you again.

If he does, then you can take further steps down the path to relationship. If he doesn't, then you can move on to the next guy and stop wasting your time.

I don't myself know any men who would rule out a relationship with a woman because she had sex with him "too soon" but they probably do exist. I wouldn't want to date one, so that's yet another reason to have sex early and often with a potential partner.

Not to mention the fact that the better you know someone, the harder it is to end things with them if the sex is wack. If it's early on, you can laugh it off and pretend YOU were just in it for the hook up. If you're emotionally invested and don't want to hurt their feelings, but the sex is irreparable, it's... well, it's awkward. (yes, I'm speaking from experience).

If you want to have sex with him, do so. If you don't want to, don't. But whatever you do, do not base your decision whether or not to have sex with him on any idea that waiting will tell you about his intentions. If his intentions are ill, he will lie (so asking him won't do any good), and he will wait as long as it takes (because the chase can be interesting and anyway, he's probably got other women on the hook), and he will still walk away after sex no matter how many times you've gone miniature golfing or on picnics or gone out with friends or you name it.

On the other hand, if you find him trustworthy and a person of integrity, you probably don't even need to ask the question, but it's certainly fine and appropriate to do so. Me, though, and I'm not a man or anything, but in my experience, I quite frankly don't know early on what I want from a relationship. I need to test the waters -- both conversationally and sexually and what have you -- in order to be able to form a coherent thought about where something is going. And it would freak me out if I were pinned down on that too soon. But that's just me. The important thing here is that YOU need to do YOU. Do what makes you feel happy and comfortable. And don't forget that good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. We all make mistakes in life, including sleeping with people who might not have been great partners for us, or great people in general. But that need not scar you for life. Just as long as you are only having sex with the people you want to have sex with, even if in retrospect it wasn't a great idea (and assuming you take all necessary health-related precautions), you'll be fine.
posted by janey47 at 5:36 PM on February 3, 2015 [10 favorites]

Numbers don't matter. Also, it's my experience that, if you guys are college aged or younger, most chatter about how many people someone has been with is just gossip with no bearing in reality.

Also, I think you should start from what you are looking for. If you want this guy to be your boyfriend, well, there's a strong chance that he is not looking for that. Maybe that's OK with you. Maybe you're looking for something casual, yourself. But if you want to be serious, you need to be clear about that, and you need to listen carefully to whether the two of you have the same goals here.

Another angle on this: it sounds like you guys don't know each other that well. What are the chances that you really want a relationship here? Why not take it slow and see what happens. Not that you should have commitment secretly in the back of your mind while you pretend to be the cool girl who just wants a fling. But, really. Take you time and evaluate what you want, what he wants, how compatible you are, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone who has answered so far. So if I go out with him, is it okay if we go drinking in groups (I think that's what he implied) or should we go do something where alcohol is not involved?
posted by missybitsy at 5:43 PM on February 3, 2015

If you go drinking with someone you know only slightly, having backup is not a bad idea. also... if you DON'T want to go drinking that is ok too. Gotta figure what you're comfortable with, and be wary of those who try and blow past those boundaries.
posted by edgeways at 5:50 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

is it okay if we go drinking in groups (I think that's what he implied) or should we go do something where alcohol is not involved?

Again, it is impossible to answer that without much more information or knowing why alcohol would automatically be a problem. It is not a definite yes or no and depends on the individual and the circumstances, plus also whether you do things you regret when drinking.

There are no hard and fast rules for you to follow that will keep you safe and give you all the answers and it seems you want reassurance for something, here, that we can't help you with. Maybe trying to work out why that is would get to the bottom of your concerns?
posted by Brockles at 5:52 PM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's up to you. It sounds like you're worried that going out for drinks - either alone or with others - signals something. It doesn't. You can go have drinks - alone or with others - and end up 1) having neither sex nor a long-term relationship, 2) having both sex and a long-term relationship, or 3) having one and not the other. You get to decide! And he gets to decide! Just be honest about what you want, and don't be afraid to ask him what he's looking for.
posted by MrBobinski at 5:54 PM on February 3, 2015

If you want a serious relationship you should go on a date early on that allows you to have quality conversation, learn about the other person's passions and values.

Whether you sleep with him on the first, second or sixth date depends on the chemistry. It also depends on how you feel about sex and how it changes your feelings about the other person.

Does having sex with someone deepen your attachment to them and feel serious to you? Then you should wait to have sex until you feel there is some substance in the relationship. Are you able to have sex for fun with low commitment? Then have sex whenever you're ready to.

A big group outing with drinking involved is probably not conducive to learning much about a person beyond whether or not there's some physical chemistry. If that's enough for you to go on before sex then have sex. If that's not enough for you, then make-out a lot and wait until you know the guy better.

You should tell the guy what you want; own your desires and set the terms you're comfortable with. He may or may not be honest with you. Only time will tell.
posted by brookeb at 5:57 PM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think time is always the best predictor. I would definitely try to do a one on one date first and get to know each other. Drinking shouldn't be a problem as long as you can get home safely without driving drunk. Of course meet in a public place. Don't have a date like at your place or his as this is easily where temptations happen. On a date, you'll be able to tell by his actions if he truly likes you or if he's just in it for sex. I would suggest holding out for as long on having sex with him. Someone mentioned this above but it will definitely show you what he is in it for. In my dating experiences, the guys who were definitely interested in me were calling/texting me a lot, taking me on many dates throughout the week, asking me many questions about my life, my interests, passions,etc. The ones who were just in it for sex were usually more touchy feeling, always tried to get me to come to their house for a "date", would hear from them inconsistently or at late hours,would get out of going on a date with me( i would say oh lets grab dinner or coffee and they would find every excuse in the book to not do this, but instead meet at their house or at a bar. You'll definitely be able to tell by his actions. Good luck!
posted by ruebeignet at 7:12 PM on February 3, 2015

No one can really say whether you should sleep with him or take it slow, that depends on your own comfort level with casual sex. Put on your big girl pants and tell the guy what you want. Trust me, the guy will appreciate it. You'd be surprised how many awkward dating situations arise from people not just laying their cards out on the table after a first date or two.
posted by deathpanels at 2:45 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm going to give you more or less the same answer I've given (I think) to your previous relationship questions:

Talk. To. Him.

You barely know him, we don't know him at all, nobody can read minds. "So, what are you looking for? Dating, serious relationship, fun in the sack?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:34 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Agree with the others saying just to talk to him. When I first started dating my bf of now 2+ years, we had a couple dates where we just talked about everything, including what we wanted regarding relationships and sex. It was nice. We connected and had great chemistry and I could tell he wasn't lying to try to get me into bed. Anyway, I guess the point is to talk with him, spend time together. See if you connect and have chemistry. See what your gut tells you about his actions and go from there. For me, once we had sex on the 2nd or 3rd date I knew I was going to fall for him and I think he felt the sometimes sex can be important in that way too. If you don't connect well sexually it doesn't bode well for a LTR. Good luck!
posted by FireFountain at 6:19 AM on February 4, 2015

is it okay if we go drinking in groups (I think that's what he implied) or should we go do something where alcohol is not involved?

"Okay" with whom? If you don't want to, don't. But getting drinks in a group with the guy you're talking to sounds really, really normal.

Seems like you are looking for some handbook here, and there isn't one.

I'm at the point in my life where I want a serious relationship, and I'm not sure if I should give this guy a chance.

You're going to have to give people chances without knowing everything in advance. That's just the way it is. But if you sleep with this guy and it turns out he only wants to hook up; you can still meet other people. You're not going to "run out" of men or time. The stakes are lower that you seem to think they are.

Six people isn't a lot, by the way. And even if it was, that wouldn't mean he was against relationships.
posted by spaltavian at 8:16 AM on February 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

"Men who are interested only in a hookup are willing to wait as long as it takes. To be perfectly frank, the only way to tell whether he's interested in you for sure and certain is to have sex with him and see if he ever contacts you again."

What? Men who are only interested in a hookup won't wait as long as it takes — they've generally got other irons in the fire.

No, the best solution (as pretty much always) is clear communication.
posted by klangklangston at 9:31 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sorry about that klangklangston, I buried the lede a bit. I mean (and mentioned later in the comment) that they will wait as long as it takes precisely because they have other irons in the fire. With many women on the string, any single woman need not agree immediately.
posted by janey47 at 12:06 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

You get to do what you want to do. Go out for drinks in a group if it sounds fun, or don't if you think it's a bad idea for whatever reason. I agree that 6 isn't a high number, and your friend may not know the "real" number for sure anyways - only the guy himself knows that number. I had a number of flings before I met my husband, but happily settled in for a relationship when he told me upfront: "Look, I like you a lot, but I'm not comfortable dating around, and I'm not comfortable with flings or friends-with-benefits arrangements. If we want to keep seeing one another, I need us to be in an exclusive relationship. What do you think?"

Honestly, the number of people I had sex with before him really has no bearing on my relationship with him. Really, if I'm ever in the dating pool again, I'm not going to ask a new partner how many sex partners they've had, and I won't answer that question either. What I will ask are the relevant to me things: Have you been tested for STDs? How long ago? Are you clean, or is there something I should know about? What are we using for protection? Do you have any expectations of having a say in what happens if I get pregnant? If so, what are your expectations?

I think I get some of your subtext here: I'm assuming you live in the US, or in a Western country. There's a big cultural trope, at least for teen-to-late 20s women, that men just sleep around, and will lie to you and say they want a long term relationship and dupe you into having sex with them, and then run away laughing at how gullible you were to believe their lies while they move on to their next fling, leaving you heartbroken, and somehow it's your fault for not seeing it and you're supposed to be the one bearing the shame for his bad behavior. 1) Yes, there are guys like that out there, but you should evaluate THIS guy in front of you on his own merits, and not automatically assume he's trying to play you, and 2) if he does say he wants a long term relationship, and you sleep with him, and he breaks it off with you in the way I describe above, that's on HIM, not on you. In that scenario, he's the one that did something wrong, not you. But again, you can't assume that he's going to do this.

I mean, if my now-husband believed what all his friends told him about me - the (greatly inflated) number of people I slept with, the fact that I was just out to break his heart and move on to the next guy ASAP - he wouldn't have dated me. But I'm glad he ignored what they said, and all that stuff seems funny now, since we've been together for 20 years.

Really, using your words, asking him about things, being upfront and clear about what you want - it can be scary, but it makes life so much easier.
posted by RogueTech at 9:31 AM on February 5, 2015

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